10/16/15 – Brighton Music Hall

Last Friday night, Allston was a bustling market of college kids ready to party; Wonder Bar was aglow with flashing lights, McDonalds had a line to the door, and Brighton Music Hall had a packed house ready to dance their week away to the upbeat sounds of Joywave. Their name appeared on everything: amps, guitar stands, bass drums, the walls.

The electronic buzzing of synths shook the floor as a 60s announcer introduced the first song of the night. People were already cheering in anticipation. A wave of thunderous applause welcomed the boys, dressed nearly in all black, and the crowd immediately broke into dancing fits. The band filed on stage and led with “Destruction.” The electronic-heavy dance beat had everyone bouncing along and whistling with the chorus.

“Ladies and gentlemen, this is Joywave!” lead vocalist Daniel Armbruster melted into a grin. He looked out onto his throng of fans. “So this right now is Joywave’s first ever headline tour. It is not, in fact, a world tour. It’s basically places in the U.S. that we like.” He noted the few times they played other gigs at Boston’s House of Blues, but never had a tour of their own. The band seemed giddy as the crowd cheered their approval. Guitarist Joseph Morinelli and bassist Sean Donnelly sprouted a shy smirk while the audience drowned them in adoration. The group effortlessly transitioned into “Parade,” a brassy anthem. Armbruster slid around the stage in his tight, black skinny jeans and faded Dr. Martens. His lanky frame couldn’t deter his zeal from filling the room, his golden microphone glittering under Brighton Hall’s lights. The contagious energy even moved three women near the bar to start a dance party.

Joywave tried to keep their set interesting by combining songs off their new album, How Do You Feel Now?, with some of their older material. Whether the songs were old or new, the infectious melodies and instrumentation spread from the front row to the back rows and merchandise table. Brighton became a sea of dancing bodies and outstretched arms– it seemed like a high-energy dance club disguised as a concert.

“It’s the first time we had to have a budget and things like that. We bought this banner behind us and still had a surplus.” Armbruster nervously fluffed his hair and motioned to the huge, orange banner with the name of their new album in bold lettering. He looked offstage and brought on a six-foot-tall inflatable doll resembling keyboardist Benjamin Bailey. “That’s how you spend money,” said Armbruster, “Inflatable Santa every holiday.” That got a giggle from the audience. Bailey seemed amused, with a hint of embarrassment.

Their set included some softer electronica beats in songs such as “Carry Me” and “Traveling at the Speed of Light.” The band still had all eyes on them with their fantastic stage presence and chipper attitudes. Suddenly, the Peter Pan’s Tic Toc Croc theme started to play. Armbruster started to taunt the audience, letting his fingers dance over the glittering mic.

“This is the last song,” he whispered, “unless you ask for more.” The crowd responded with a tremendous shriek, and the band floated into their next song. When Joywave finished, Armbruster and his crew remained on the stage and initiated a chant: “three more songs, three more songs.” Fans immediately caught on and joined him in an overwhelming shout. The band didn’t even bother leaving the stage, on par with typical encore procedure. They cut out the usual suspense and invited KOPPS, their opener, back onstage for the first encore song “Tongues,” Joywave’s most popular track on Spotify. They finished strong with “Somebody New” while the venue sang along. Brighton Music Hall became a house party during the encore. All the while, the inflatable Benjamin Bailey looked on. He wasn’t nearly as talented on the ivories, though.

The Infectious Sounds of Joy: Joywave
  • Humble yet excited
  • played off audience's energy
  • Handful of mellow songs felt out of place
9.4Overall Score

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