Tigers Jaw is a band who has progressed from pop punk to emo to indie rock since their inception in 2005. A group that had very humble beginnings like many playing in old abandoned strip malls in D.I.Y. type venues. I first heard of the band when they played at The West End in my dad’s hometown of Ashtabula, OH. My cousin saw Tigers Jaw play for around 10 people at the same place in 2011 after they released the self-titled Pizza LP.
It has since gone on to be the most appreciated release of their discography. The group progressed to continue writing music over lineup changes and going on hiatus. Their 4th LP “Charmer” was released in 2014 after new band members joined Ben Walsh and Brianna Collins. The band’s highly anticipated 5th LP “Spin,” released in 2017, was their major label debut. This was also the first release on producer Will Yip’s Black Cement Records (via Atlantic Records).
The show was a spontaneous decision. I don’t typically drive to shows (especially by myself) far away from home to a venue I have not been to before. Seeing Tigers Jaw was worth the 4+ hour round trip drive.
The Grey Eagle in Asheville was everything you would want out of a venue and more. Walking in had the appearance of an old automotive office. As you continued to walk through the venue, it further validated the past as an automotive shop. One side was an active restaurant with all types of options from Mex-Tex, Mexican, American, and Vegan options. Right next to it was the bar at least 10-15 beers on tap plus more. In the same room, there are tables and booths. Continuing through, there was two openings to the stage. Walking into the dimly lit area, you get the impression of a house show with the brick wall and lack of windows. Something like you could imagine the group could feel at home in over the years.
Tigers Jaw has always been known to put on an emotionally driven performance. Along with that, they don’t generally carry talent on tour that would lack the drive on stage. Looming is an indie rock band from Springfield, Illinois. The group has two LPs out Nailbiter and Seed via No Sleep Records.
I really enjoyed the vocalist’s style. Unique and different. Yowler is an indie-folk band, but from Columbus, OH. Again, another group from Columbus touring with Tigers Jaw. Last summer, a band called Saintseneca went out with them. Come to figure out, Maryn Jones (Frontwoman) is a part of the group. Jones voice was incredibly soothing. It was something that took me completely off guard and I couldn’t seem to take my eyes away. I remember Saintseneca performed in the same manner before as well. She is absolutely an artist to watch between being with Yowler and Saintseneca. Tigers Jaw songs take me through a warp of sorts as I explained earlier. I have gotten myself to enjoy their release of Belongs To The Dead all the way through their latest release spin. The duo of Ben Walsh and Brianna Collins is dynamic to watch. Ben on guitar and vocals and Brianna on keyboard and vocals. When you put those two together, you have somewhat of perfect interchanging spotlight.
Brianna is set to lead in some tracks while Ben on others. An exciting crowd full of shrieks and yells from men and women started respectfully as Tigers Jaw came on stage. The group came on with some new tracks, but were given entire crowd sing-a-longs when playing older material. I would rate their energy and performance to go hand and hand with what they could get out of the crowd. Nothing less than 110 percent given. Fan favorite tracks are Plane vs. Tank vs. Submarine, June, & Never Saw It Coming. My favorite tracks are The Sun, Favorite, and Window.
After indulging in a few craft brews, some food, and good vibes, watching the show fit where my week would end up. This only happened to be the 2nd show of 5 on the week (2/26-3/4). Four of those being different cities. Tigers Jaw left that bit of nostalgia fresh where things were 7-8 years ago. When the show ended, I left to see Brianna Collins was hanging by the merch table. A few meets and tequila shots between me later, she said, “You better have something important to say.”
I explained to her the time they played at the West End and the fact that I had frequented the D.I.Y. venue many years ago. She told me how that brought back memories of how they slept on air mattresses on concrete floors there. Whether that was the venue floor or a Northeast Ohio basement, I could see it to be the truth and nothing but the truth. She also asked if I knew who Matt Barnum was (Didn’t know the answer at the time). Come to find out, I have probably known him from going to shows at the West End where he helped put on shows. He is in a Hardcore/Death Metal band out of Ashtabula, OH. My first cousin’s brother-in-law is or used to be in Homewrecker as well with Matt. It’s funny how small world is when you it break down and build new connections. Catch Tigers Jaw (scroll to bottom of page) back on a U.S. tour with The Wonder Years, Tiny Moving Parts, and Worriers in May and early June.