Concert Review: Tigers Jaw at the Grog Shop
Written by Reid Smith on June 26, 2017
By: Taylor Pierce
Last Tuesday night, I ventured to Cleveland Heights to check out Tigers Jaw show at the Grog Shop. The venue couldn’t have been more intimate, making it the perfect place to hangout with friends and your favorite bands. Everyone inside of The Grog Shop was extremely kind from the staff to the musicians. The quaint setting became packed from wall to wall by 8:00 pm for the sold-out show.
Right at 8:30 pm, Smidley took the stage to kick off the night. Smidley is none other than Conor Murphy, former front man of the Indie rock band Foxing. Murphy recently went solo as Smidley and released a self titled project on June 2, 2017. Smidley’s setlist consisted of just a handful of songs including two off of his new project, ‘No One Likes You’ and ‘F*ck This.’ Both songs provided an energetic beat accompanied by simple lyrics that packed a whole lot of meaning. The crowd was very much into this vibe and danced a long to the new tunes. Smidley left the stage twice during his set to walk through the tightly packed crowd to interact with fans, making us all feel like close friends. I had never heard of this artist prior to the show, but I must say this effortlessly good performance has turned me into a fan.
Following Smidley was folk rock band Saintseneca, who are originally from Columbus Ohio. The band took the stage with a plethora of instruments and members leaving no space on the small stage at all. Zac Little, one of the band’s founding members back in 2007, showcased his talent as a singer/songwriter by belting out impressive vocals while playing some serious electric guitar among other instruments. The man can shred. Saintseneca played a short setlist mainly comprised of songs of their latest release, ‘Book Of The Dead On Sale.’ These jams created an even more high energy environment that built on what Smidley gave to the crowd during his set. Every member of Saintseneca looked like they were having the time of their lives on stage and I really couldn’t help but smile during the entire set.
By this time in the night everyone was getting really hyped to see Tigers Jaw and both bands did a great job of preparing the crowd for the performance.
As soon as Ben Walsh and Brianna Collins graced the stage, the crowd immediately erupted with the perfect mix of excitement and enthusiasm. Tigers Jaw opened with ‘Follows’ from their latest album ‘spin’ which resulted in the entirety of the crowd screaming along every word with the band. Walsh gave so much energy during each song and killed every single guitar riff in a somewhat effortless fashion. You could feel the passion flowing from each song.
Brianna Collins accompanied Walsh by providing beautiful vocals and playing the keys quite impressively. The two of them provided killer harmonies and were very much insync for the whole performance. The chemistry between these two helped fuel a passionate setlist full of solid jams that are just so good that you have to appreciate them.
A highlight of the setlist is when the band performed ‘Chemicals’ off of their 2010 self titled album. This song really resonated with the crowd, which began to sing along so loudly that it was actually difficult to hear Walsh. This was a time for the devoted Tigers Jaw fans to sing in admiration and show their continued support for the band over the last seven years.
Tigers Jaw delivered a perfectly curated setlist providing fans songs ranging from their first album to their latest release. The setlist was a great mix of slow emotional songs that bring you deep into your feels and some of the band’s most well known intense alternative tracks.
Something that stood out during their set was that between nearly every song Walsh stopped to thank the crowd for being there and supporting them. You could tell it was sincere and that Tigers Jaw is genuinely grateful to their fan base’s continued support. It made my heart happy to see a band so well connected to its fans. Walsh also paused between songs and asked crowd surfing fans to please be careful of their surrounding concert goers. What a genuine guy.
Tigers Jaw definitely left everything on the stage that night, leaving fans pleading for “one more song” when the band exited the stage after its final track on the setlist, ‘Window.’ It was only minutes until Tigers Jaw took the stage again for an encore performance of ‘Hum’ from their 2014 Charmer album.
The crowd remained very interactive with the band throughout the duration of the setlist: belting out lyrics, jumping off stage to crowd surf and dancing to every song. This was one of the most passionate shows I’ve ever had the privilege of seeing live. Until next time, Tigers Jaw.