Wolf Jaw + Smile At Strangers - the bunkhouse, Swansea


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Gig Pigs headed to Swansea to see Wolf Jaw in a small venue in the city centre. It was quiet when we entered, to be told that the advertised doors time of 7pm had been put back to ‘about 8:30’, as one of the bands had pulled out. Disappointing for the headliners, but the opening band. ‘Smile At Strangers’ would be on stage somewhere around 9pm. 

We spent the spare 90 minutes chatting to friends who had come for the gig, and it was clear by about 8:00 that the gig had not done well in the advance ticket sales. This is disappointing , as we know that Wolf Jaw are a blues/rock trio who are worth coming out to see.

Heading to the small room upstairs, we were amongst the first in. the support band kicked off the evening with some heavy rock music. Although advertised at the last minute, and heralded as their first gig, they appeared confident on stage and after a couple of tracks, settled in to their set and the lead singer even took some time to chat to the small audience, who seemed to enjoy the intimate gig.

The Swansea based 5-piece gave a great set of their own music, which is littered with heavy riffs and some screaming guitar solos. Vocally, there is a rough edge and the rhythm section underpins some great melodic sounds.

Callum Austin - Vocals

Charlie Litchfield - Lead Guitar

Julian Probert - Rhythm Guitar

Robbie Jay Austin - Bass Guitar

Mason Meacham - Drums



It didn’t take long for the stage to be reorganised for Wolf Jaw. they haven’t done many gigs in recent weeks, but as the three guys started, they looked relaxed and settled in to deliver their set. Kicking off with ‘I Lose My Mind’, i am instantly reminded why i enjoy watching these guys so much. Tom had a voice like honey and with his incredible musical talents, he backs this with guitar playing that is a joy to watch and listen to. Sadly, the lighting in the venue was not as good as its sound, and Tom seemed to be playing in the dark, leaving the audience unable to see his fingers working their magic on his array of guitars. In the centre of the stage, Karl sounds his kit with an energetic power - occasionally glancing at Tom and Dale (bass), but mostly crashing the drums with a rhythm that is timed to perfection. The third member of this power trio, and the other half of the rhythm section is Dale Tonks, on bass guitar. the heavy lines are a key part of the Wolf Jaw sound.

As they go through their set, Tom chats to the small audience. He tells us they have been busy writing and give us a couple of tracks that will be on the next album. ‘Hear Me’ is a catchy track which will go down well, either as an album track or even a single when the time comes. the second new song ‘I Ain’t Ready Yet’ is similarly well crafted. if the rest of the album is as good as the two tracks we had the pleasure of, then fans will be in for a real treat.

The rest of the set was flawless and mesmerising, and all too soon, it drew to a close, finishing with ‘City Lights’ - one of my favourite tracks on the album ‘Starting Gun’. 

If you haven’t managed to catch Wolf Jaw live, I urge you to do so. there will be plenty of opportunities this year, including Download. Give their album a listen, and prepare for an onslaught of talent on your ears. You will love it.

Tom Leighton - Guitar/Vocals

Dale Tonks - Bass/Vocals

Karl Selickis - Drums