Author: Duke Denham
Photo courtesy of Joyce Manor’s website
Joyce Manor, an acclaimed pop punk band from Southern California, visited Seattle this past Halloween to provide a spirited and entertaining show for fans at The Neptune. Vundabar and Peach Kelli Pop accompanied the band to guarantee a fun-filled night of electrifying live music.
Before getting into the concert, I must mention that this show was actually my first time at The Neptune. After this initial experience, I must say I’m definitely impressed. The venue boasts a unique chapel theme with an expansive domed ceiling, multiple stained-glass murals, and a balcony level that can hold a significant number of people. Additionally, the acoustics of The Neptune sounded superb, providing plenty of natural reverb to enhance the sound of each band that played.
Peach Kelli Pop entered the stage first wearing Halloween-themed masks and shirts to perform a vibrant, colorful set of songs while fans trickled into the venue. Many of the songs incorporated chugging guitar chords, bouncy basslines, and bubbly vocals. The combination of these elements resulted in a recipe for head bobbing and lively dancing that surely got the energy of the crowd rolling.
Shortly after, Vundabar hopped on the stage to bring forth a set that completely caught me by surprise. The band only consists of a bassist, drummer, and guitarist/lead vocalist leaving me to assume that the sound of the band may be scant. However, Vundabar certainly proved me wrong. Within the first two songs, the band played with such untamed, raw energy that a mosh pit erupted in the crowd. The group definitely understands how to shape the dynamics of a song, adding or subtracting instrumentation in the right places to build to powerful climaxes filled with moshing. This is how the band was able to sound so rich with only three players.
The band wasn’t without interesting charisma either. Given the date, the band sported wide brimmed hats and skeleton face paint. In between songs, some members would make weird noises with their mouths to try and “spook” the crowd. Even the songs themselves occasionally utilized odd mouth sounds, most notably on the song “Oulala.” The group finished the set in a spontaneous fashion, pretending to end the last song five times before actually ending it.
Before long, the band of the hour came on to deliver a spectacular show. As expected, Joyce Manor took their catchy, fun tunes and transformed them perfectly into a live performance that was potent with emotion and kinetic energy. The crowd seemed to be enthralled by the music, as most people were either belting out the lyrics or moshing excitingly. Front man Barry Johnson mentioned it had been a long time since playing in Seattle (over two years to be exact). The audience surely showed their enthusiasm to finally see the band again.
Because Joyce Manor usually keeps their song lengths to around two minutes, the group was able to perform twenty songs in a forty-minute set along with a two-song encore. Material from their first three albums seemed to engage fans the most. Personal highlights include “Schley” for its insanely infectious guitar melody, “Constant Headache” for its legendary chorus, and “Five Beer Plan” for gradually building into an epic climax filled with drive.
My only complaint is that the stage presence was slightly underwhelming in certain moments, as some members would remain stagnant for portions of the show. However, given the extensive touring that Joyce Manor undergoes, this is completely understandable. Additionally, the band performed with passion and intensity during parts where it mattered most, especially Johnson when singing the lyrics that connected most with fans.
Overall, the Joyce Manor show was quite enjoyable. Joyce Manor, Vundabar, and Peach Kelli Pop each played distinct, authentic, and meaningful music with ardor and vigor. Joyce Manor connected well with the audience by playing songs that clearly meant a lot to them. If I took anything away from the experience, it’s that fans are loyal to the band. At one point, Johnson took some time to thank everyone for coming, noting that they could’ve done many other things for Halloween. However, I don’t think anyone in the crowd would’ve traded that show for anything else.
DUKE DENHAM | Just one more article to write yuh | KXSU Music Reporter