Jackson Phillips (aka Day Wave) creates an extremely chilled, laid-back atmosphere that he brings to life with unexpected, though well-received energy
Transforming a less-than-spacious London basement venue into a Californian daydream may prove a challenge to the best of them; except Jackson Phillips – frontman, and sole member, of the lo-fi rock band Day Wave. While working away on his as-yet-untitled debut album, ‘Phillips‘ has released two EPs and a handful of singles under the Day Wave moniker; garnering acclaim including Billboard in the States, and DIY here across the pond.
Phillips hits the road with London-based bands Swimming Tapes and Fake Laugh – both with equally smooth guitar riffs, powering behind mellow drum beats and lyrics reminiscent of your favourite 90s pop-punk bands. Despite the thousands of miles spanning between them and Phillips over in Oakland, California – their sound unites over lo-fi riffs and distant, echoed vocals. Phillips, however, manages to encapsulate a distinct and genuine soundscape of a west-coast summer within his music; and while it’s relaxed over in the studio, stage presence with Phillips and his touring band is brash, loud and heavy – with thumping energy yet equally slick perfectionism.
Walking through the crowd, and bursting on to stage with no introduction; the band dive right into ‘Come Home Now’ – currently Phillips‘ most popular track across streaming platforms. Though an instant crowd-pleaser, the fan’s obvious enjoyment by chanting along didn’t stop Phillips‘ last attempt at micromanaging; with repeated tinkering of volumes for vocals and sound. Another example of his devotion of bringing to life a project that sprung solely from within himself, though despite his constant involvement – it didn’t stop him and his traveling bandmates from enjoying the vibe of the venue onstage.
Moving into their next track, ‘Gone’, the band took only enough time for a gasp of air. The chanted chorus of “And you’re gone, you’re gone” over and over sounds more rushed and anxious when combined with a heavier live sound. This gave each of the tracks new dynamics while remaining equally as enjoyable. This gives some of the somewhat louder songs in Phillips‘ discography to a chance to shine, such as ‘Deadbeat Girl’, ‘Ceremony’ and ‘Drag’. Each of which featuring a hastened tempo when compared to the rest, yet still harnessing the best of the lo-fi sound of Day Wave. Performed one after the other, this was a triple hit section of the setlist. However, with ‘Drag’ performing well with the crowd – and lingering as one of his most popular tracks on social media – it’s inclusion later on in the show may have prevented a set-list slump.
With new track ‘Promises’ however, Phillips‘ shows us what he’s been holding onto for his upcoming album. Smooth guitar and soft drums are ever-present in his new work, with equal amounts of echoing chants for good measure. A style Phillips‘ has since been expanding, shaping and polishing since his debut EP ‘Headcase’. Closing the initial set with ‘We Try but We Don’t Fit In’, the band end with a distinguished sound of the early EP and a sense of “where it all started” for Phillips. Coming back on for a generous two last tracks after the crowd screamed “one last song” over and over – unreleased song ‘Wasting Time’ is performed; debut album potential? And to close the evening, ‘Hard to Read’ the title track of his latest EP is performed last. With a perfect mix of tinny, fast lo-fi guitar and waning vocals with extra reverb, ‘Hard to Read’ may be a highlight of Phillips‘ work so far.
If you’re looking for a sound to get you missing the Californian summer you never experienced, while you have the English rainy blues – look no further than Jackson Phillips‘ work as Day Wave. Creating a soundscape to provide as a perfect soundtrack to any day you spend at the beach, Phillips created an extremely chilled, laid-back atmosphere that he brings to life with unexpected, though well-received energy.
Day Wave‘s latest EP ‘Hard to Read’ is out now via Fat Possum Records
This Day Wave article was written by Max Clemens, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Zoe Anderson