PAWS / North American War @ CCA, 4 October
Tonight begins with a major disappointment: the promised rum and coke floats are unavailable. The CCA weren’t keen on the potential mess, explains a barman, and though he could maybe rustle one up for us, “it’d probably be expensive.” We opt for beers, dolefully wondering if the night will ever recover from such a damaging blow.
It does, and then some. North American War light the match, bringing the crowd closer using squalling noise-rock and Anna Schneider’s aloof vocals as lure. The dynamic brings Sonic Youth to mind, an exalted point of comparison that NAW measure up to ably. By the time the last lick of feedback’s been stifled, the room is full and expectant.
PAWS swiftly set about stoking the flames. Things start civilised: heartfelt opener Catherine 1956 is respectfully received, as are the next couple of slices of crunchy fuzz-rock. But when Phil Taylor notes that the photographer leaping speakers front of stage is the most animated body in the room, the hint is taken with both hands. With no barriers or security, crowd surfing breaks out en masse, as the front rows take turns atop in a never-ending flow. Behind them, PAWS power through the bulk of Cokefloat and more, with Jellyfish and Boregasm the ante-uppers and Misled Youth’s Bainz the pick of those offering space to catch breath amidst the sugar rush assault. Whoever nixed the actual cokefloats knew what they were doing: tonight was messy (and awesome) enough without.
Listen to an exclusive stream of PAWS' debut album Cokefloat! here.