On the 6th of March, tropical house icon Jax Jones brought his party atmosphere to Nottingham’s Rock City.
Breaking through as early as 2014 with help from the already established Duke Dumont, Jax Jones has since become a mainstay of the British house and commercial scenes. Chart dominating singles You Don’t Know Me and Instruction, featuring RAYE and Demi Levato respectively, are no stranger to the crowds of Rock City’s Crisis-goers, but on this fine spring evening, it was Jax’s turn in the spotlight.
With debut album Snacks (Supersize) recently unleashed into the world, this was the promised tour to follow. From the echoing, cinematic introduction building into a monstrous countdown that had the whole floor chanting, it was clear that Jax Jones was ready to put on a show. Every moment was precious, as Jones began with new hit All Day and Night to the chants from an eager audience. Formed with new collaborator and fellow house icon Martin Solveig, All Day and Night is the first offering from Jax’s new project Europa. Being over a decade his senior, Solveig playing the mentor role will no doubt help Jones reach the upper echelons of the UK house scene, something he’s well on his way to achieving with blisteringly energetic sets.
"Jax Jones has brought together an offering of insanely catchy and likeable songs and, paired with his natural vigour and showmanship, has discovered the key to putting on a whirlwind set of house and dance music."
As the hour and a half set proceeded, one thought became vividly apparent: Jax Jones produces some incredibly catchy songs. While not a self-confessed house fan, I was sucked in from the get-go, and found myself enjoying each and every hit as much as the one that came before. This Is Real (feat. Ella Henderson) and Play (feat. Years & Years) were striking highlights, with the doting crowd of this sold-out show singing every word, much to the delight of the ever-mobile Jones. On top of his own chart-toppers, Jones found the time to slot in a few tracks from his own interests, mixing in Eats Everything’s Loud and the recent chart dominator Pump It Up from the Brighton producer Endor, again to the delight of the crowd.
Rarely is such raw excitement felt at a large venue DJ set nowadays; in a world of Instagram filters and constant nonchalant coolness, sometimes it seems hard to kick back, let go and have a truly good time. Maybe it was the heavy blend of youth and experience in the crowd, with new house fans mixing side by side against the young-at-heart brigade on a rare Friday night out – but the atmosphere was immense. As the set climaxed with Instruction, the crowd energetically followed every lyric as I found myself caught up in the wave of fans quite literally wining to the left, swaying to the right, dropping it down low and taking it back high, all with military precision.
Before the show, I was slightly perplexed at how a house DJ famed for his bouncy, tropical, ultimately commercial offerings had sold-out one of the UK’s most well renowned alternative, rock and indie venues with such ease. This wasn’t a close sell-out; this was an assured sell-out. From the moment the Rock City steps were ascended, a crowd was there to meet and greet us at the top of the stairs; the dancefloor took minute after minute to penetrate; the bar – you don’t even want to know how busy that was.
However, since witnessing my first Jax Jones set, all my confusion has been alleviated. Jax Jones has brought together an offering of insanely catchy and likeable songs and, paired with his natural vigour and showmanship, has discovered the key to putting on a whirlwind set of house and dance music, in what will have been one of Rock City’s most unique gigs this year.