PAWS | The Troubadour (West Hollywood, CA) | May 9, 2014 |
Josh Swinney of the Scottish trio PAWS is one breathless drummer. Literally. In between lively bursts of punk’d up and energetic thrash (we’ll call them songs) when Josh would hunker over the mic at his drum kit to speak, more often than not the words came out as heavy lung expulsions. Now Josh and his band mates Phillip Taylor (vox, guitar) and Ryan Drever (bass) may have gotten the shit kicked out of them earlier in the day while surfing in Huntington Beach, CA (Taylor’s words, not ours), but that didn’t deter the young guns from kicking out a proper show ripe with flying hair, beards and surprisingly tight 2 ½- 3 ½ minute rockers.
With their sophomore album, Youth Culture Forever, freshly released, opening up a sold out show at the Troubadour in West Hollywood for their BFFs We Are Scientists (and it’s way to obvious how much these two bands dig each other), seemed the perfectly rousing start and fit for PAWS – even if the crowd’s demeanor was somewhat sedate. Phillip called the crowd the “quietest group of people anywhere on a Friday night,” but that was because folks were genuinely paying attention. Gradually the heads started banging (it was appropriate) and those bursts of heartfelt angst were increasingly appreciated. That’s because there is a wealth of substance buried within Phillip’s guitar buzz, Ryan’s healthy low-end and Josh’s high octane drumming. With lyrics not quite as frivolous as you might expect from younger musicians, PAWS aim to be just the opposite and thoughtfully so. It didn’t matter if Phillip was singing about sweet romance, talking about a women’s group’s good works or singing that damned song about cancer: all things equaled an internally feisty front man bringing it up and out from the heart and a band that was on the same page.
Very little honor was given to the previous night’s shit show at the Conservatory in Santa Ana, CA due to the drama queen we all know as Morrissey. And that’s a good thing because PAWS had better things to do and they did it: they put on a rock show indicative of an indie band with talent beyond simple buzz.