NAWAS is an up-and-coming rock/R&B group based in Nashville. They’re opening for Max Frost on the A.D.D. Tour, which brought them to The Belmont in downtown Austin last weekend on Sept. 30.
The set was just under 40 minutes long, but the trio covered a lot of ground, playing more than a handful of their songs and interacting with the crowd. Lead vocalist Jake Nawas got the audience on his side almost immediately by saying Austin is one of their favorite locales. He kept his energy up throughout their set, jumping around and showing off his dance moves, even in the heat of the stage lights.
The trio’s setlist weaved back and forth between more laid-back tunes and tracks that the crowd could dance to, which made for a great atmosphere that was neither too mellow nor too energetic. Jake Nawas’s unique vocals stayed consistent throughout his performance, despite the fact that he uses a falsetto sound that seems like it might be taxing on his vocal cords. While the guitarist, Ben McDaniel, and the drummer, Joey Gonzales, didn’t have as much interaction with the audience, they seemed to be enjoying themselves and appeared passionate about the music.
During one break between songs, the vocalist shouted out the Austin Pride celebration, which was also happening downtown that night, and it elicited cheers and clapping from those at The Belmont. There was a positive energy in the air at the NAWAS show, and the audience was having a great time interacting with the band and spending their Saturday night experiencing live music, as one might expect in Austin. The group also announced while onstage that they’d be hanging out at their merch table following their set, and welcomed fans to come by not just to buy things – although that is part of it, of course – but to say hi and have a conversation as well.
With their one-of-a-kind sound and upbeat attitude, it’s easy to see NAWAS experiencing a rise in popularity in the near future. They will be touring with Max Frost throughout the U.S. and Canada until November 8, so catch them live if you get the chance.
Originally hailing from Pennsylvania, Jackie has called Austin home since choosing to attend the University of Texas, where she graduated with a degree in multimedia journalism. She loves spending time with her dog, writing about pop culture in all its forms and spending time with friends – eating, drinking and doing trivia. You can follow Jackie on Twitter and Instagram.