Jagwar Ma at Scala
Promoting the summer release of their debut album Howlin’, Jagwar Ma are uncharacteristically restrained as they drop deep house, trance and techno beats to beguiling bass riffs and enigmatic vocals in a mix of genres at Scala in King’s Cross.
Led vocally by Gabriel Winterfield, with Jack Freeman on Bass and Jono Ma as DJ, the trio from Sydney give an understated but overall energetic performance that has the crowd moving to every track. As they come on stage one by one, the underlying beat that Ma lays has the bass penetrating your entire body, steadily building suspense, but the opener initially seems amiss. They lack their usual verve but when the chorus hits and the white overhead spotlights flash, they’re off and the entire audience is entranced.
While their better-known material has fans shouting back the chorus of Come and Save Me and Let Her Go, live, they bring another element to the stage with greater attention to the rhythm and bass. The group recreate the atmosphere of a club, with their focus more on the music than staging or showmanship as Freeman continuously has his back to the audience and Ma is predominately facing stage left as he mixes.
Winterfield on guitar for The Throw creates the most intriguing and recognisable tune: you can see that the audience anticipates his riffs and they throw their hands up in the air and move to his sound when they finally hear it.
Tension rises as the crowd demand an encore and while Did You Have To proves to be much more lethargic in pace, this number has the most emotion yet. The verses are slow with the lyrics drawn out, but the song adds a bit of drama to their performance, as if they are acting out the narrative.
Though they may have been lacking in enthusiasm at times, Jagwar Ma’s unique style and sound more than make up for any other limitations.
Photos: Erol Birsen
For further information about Jagwar Ma and future events visit here.
Watch the video for The Throw here: