Scranton indie rockers Tigers Jaw kick off national tour at Karl Hall in Wilkes-Barre on Feb. 18
From a press release:
Last week, Philadelphia-based psychedelic post-hardcore group Circa Survive canceled their highly anticipated Blue Sky Noise 10 Year Anniversary Tour, citing “multiple factors,” including vocalist Anthony Green “struggling with a mental health crisis and unable to be on tour at this time.”
“A focus on self and family is of the utmost importance right now therefore postponing or rescheduling any further doesn’t feel like the right thing to do,” the band wrote in a statement on social media.
“We’re absolutely devastated over this and feel awful for everyone it affects. We hope you will accept our most sincere apologies and regrets with this news and the last minute nature of this announcement.”
Scranton indie rockers Tigers Jaw were set to serve as direct support on the entire North American tour that was already postponed due to the pandemic, so today they announced the Last Minute Magic Tour, their own headlining run that kicks off with an all-ages hometown show at Karl Hall (57 N. Main St., Wilkes-Barre) on Friday, Feb. 18.
Their last few shows at Karl Hall, including an outdoor gig last year, were acoustic, but this will be a full band performance and is likely to sell out quickly. In 2019, Tigers Jaw played a sold-out acoustic show in the intimate basement venue, and in 2020, they co-headlined a massive drive-in benefit concert outside Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre that was organized by Karl Hall.
Doors for this show open at 7 p.m., and the music starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets, which are $25, are on sale now via Eventbrite. It is BYOB for those 21 and over, and proof of vaccination or a negative test within 72 hours of the show is required to attend.
The 18-date tour will then head to New Kensington, Cleveland, Buffalo, Brooklyn, Philadelphia, Nashville, Chicago, and more before wrapping up with two nights at The Glass House in California.
“Let’s make the best of a tough situation! After the cancellation of the Blue Sky Noise tour, we got right to work to try and get some shows together. We are calling it the Last Minute Magic Tour – these shows are going to be so special and intimate,” the group said.
“If you want to support our band in this tricky time, please come out and see us play a headlining set of career-spanning songs, invite a friend to come along, and maybe even help us cut down on Merch Mountain, a towering stack of boxes currently sitting in Brianna’s house. These shows are going to be incredibly fun and wild.”
UPDATE: After the first show quickly sold out, a second show at Karl Hall was added on Thursday, Feb. 17.
Debuting on March 5, 2021 with a free virtual release show recorded at Karl Hall, “I Won’t Care How You Remember Me” is an ode to living in the present. As this hectic era of distraction whirs, ticks, swipes, and scrolls by each of us at an alarming speed, the ability to maintain a sense of priority for the human elements in our lives as well as a reflective understanding of self, remains a lost art. But here, the group has seized upon it.
Tigers Jaw’s sixth studio album – and first for new label home Hopeless Records – finds members Ben Walsh (vocals/guitar), Brianna Collins (vocals/keyboards), Teddy Roberts (drums), and Colin Gorman (bass) at the height of their powers, fusing their collective skills with the synchronicity and energy the band honed over several years of nonstop touring. The result is a back-to-the-basement approach elevated by the unmistakable production of their longtime friend and collaborator Will Yip. The band’s most sonically ambitious and lyrically affecting album to date, “I Won’t Care” sees a newfound freshness and creative freedom crystallizing the lush and dynamic world of Tigers Jaw.
Opening with the urgent strums of Walsh’s striking title track – featuring Manchester Orchestra’s Andy Hull on backing vocals – “I Won’t Care How You Remember Me” is a super-charged and emotional ripper about the importance of being direct and truthful with the people in one’s life. While at first the song seemed to be an unapologetically defiant statement, it ended up carrying a greater significance for the band, who rallied around it as a sentiment of a shared personal renaissance that sets the tone for the album, as well as the band as a whole.
“This album is a hopeful time capsule of a band who has been through a lot together. It’s about growth, self-reflection, and figuring out how to be present in the moment to really take stock of what’s important, without getting sidetracked by the opinions of others or things out of our control,” Walsh explained.
“Tigers Jaw can get through anything and be stronger because of it. We’ve endured lots of change over the last 15 years, but a lot of things have remained consistent. We make the music we want to make, we push each other to continue evolving and growing as musicians, and we are so proud of where we are now.”
One of the biggest steps of the band’s evolution has been in songwriting. While their 2017 album “Spin” found Walsh and Collins splitting the writing duties, “I Won’t Care” marks the first time all four members shared input.
“I’m newer to songwriting, but the encouragement and collaboration that happened between us as a band while writing this record built up my confidence and excitement in being a songwriter,” Collins said.
“Collaborating together not only pushed me as a songwriter, but it also reinforced how good it feels to be in this band.”
Gathering together on the heels of a long, intense stretch of touring in early 2019 to work on new material, the foursome found that their dynamic as musicians and friends was firing on all cylinders. The band was tighter than ever before and considered the writing process a chance to get back to the band’s roots, with all members in a room together working collaboratively toward a common goal.
“We were tearing apart demos and making these songs the best representation of this group of four people that we could,” Walsh recalled.
Where “Spin” was a moving soundscape replete with several dense layers of instruments and vocals, “I Won’t Care” pushes the elements of liveliness and human connectivity forward. Minimal layers and takes were used.
“After touring so extensively and developing a really strong musical chemistry together, recording in that style seemed like the best approach to capture our band’s truest self,” Gorman noted.
“Cat’s Cradle,” a thrilling synth-led number written and sung by Collins, tells the saga of a flamed-out friendship in just over two-and-a-half throttling minutes.
“This song is about the realization that no matter how much love, effort, and consideration you put into a friendship, sometimes it just isn’t enough to make it work,” Collins shared.
“The lyrics touch on how being passive aggressive and not communicating true feelings can just lead to tension, confusion, and frustration in any relationship. I have the tendency to suppress my own feelings and apologize first, so with this song, I wanted to acknowledge my own thoughts and feelings while moving forward from that type of dynamic.”
The aptly-named “Hesitation” describes “those sinking feelings of sensing that the person you love is beginning to drift away,” Walsh described. Originally brought in to the group to record in early 2019, Walsh’s song was rerecorded and changed – sometimes drastically – nearly a half-dozen times before reaching its final status. “That song is a testament that we put the work in and were willing to try new things,” Roberts said.
Elsewhere, the slinky, groovy “New Detroit” evokes the Americana-tinged alt rock of Gin Blossoms, a personal favorite of Walsh’s.
“This song was conceptualized while touring Australia after starting a new relationship. I was reflecting on the previous Australian tour years ago when my home life was in a rough place, and that took over the entire experience. I felt mentally split between the two places, unable to be in the moment.”
The charged “Can’t Wait Forever” and “Body Language” pair in yearning with Collins’ fuzzed-out “Lemon Mouth” and “Commit,” the latter a showcase for the rhythm section’s formidable talents.
The album ends with “Anniversary,” an anthem of solidarity that fades out on the strains of Walsh’s refrain: “We all fall apart in the same way.” It’s a compelling notion that serves as a reminder of our collective similarities, as well as a signal of Tigers Jaw’s undeniable union.
“There’s no question that we are all best friends, or even deeper, like family,” Collins said.
“We love playing music together, and it feels so good to be in this band and have this camaraderie. We made this record for ourselves, together. We know who we are as a band, and we’re gonna keep doing things the way we want to do them and keep learning from each other and growing.”
See NEPA Scene’s photos and a review of Tigers Jaw’s 2020 Wilkes-Barre performance here and watch an exclusive interview with Brianna Collins in Episode 109 of the NEPA Scene Podcast, where she talks about Tigers Jaw’s rise to fame, what drew her to local music at a young age, tour stories and meeting bands she grew up listening to, working with Will Yip on “Spin” and “Charmer,” songwriting and the evolution of Tiger Jaw’s sound, her favorite shows, their sold-out 10th anniversary show in Scranton, their current lineup, and more: