Joyce Manor captivates a roomful of fans at Union Transfer

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photo by Rachel Del Sordo
photo by Rachel Del Sordo

This past Wednesday, California pop punk band Joyce Manor stopped by Union Transfer in support of their most recent album, Never Hungover Again. With support from Seattle-based The Exquisites, as well as locals Dogs On Acid and The Spirit of the Beehive, it was a huge gathering of friends from all over Philadelphia. The Spirit of The Beehive’s lo-fi recordings sounded great live, with low, muted vocals that guide the music from mellow sections to driving ones. A five-piece band made of members from Kite Party and Glocca Morra used three guitars and a synth with bass and drums to put on a great opening set, with a notably pummeling ending song, “Chump,” off their full length album. Listen here.

Dogs On Acid opened their set with an awesome unreleased song that featured a catchy, hollering chorus and killer riffs from Peter Helmis and Joe Reinhart, from the locally-loved Algernon Cadwallader. The guitars alternated between feedback, messing around, and clean, bold hooks while Helmis carried most of the vocals duties with a sense of hopeless excitement. The bass and drums kept their sound together when the guitars went whacky, and complimented them when they were straightforward, making them stand out even more. Check out their EP here.
The Exquisites | photo by Rachel Del Sordo
The Exquisites | photo by Rachel Del Sordo

The Exquisites’ set was full of bold vocals and powerful guitar riffs; with Philly’s Evan Bernard (of The Weaks and Mike Bell & The Movies) was on guitar. They played tracks off their split with Dad Punchers and their self-titled album, including fan favorite “Selfish Feelings.” Their set was loud and explosive in a similar manner to Manchester Orchestra, and got the room warmed up for the headliner.

As soon as Joyce Manor began the opening notes of “Heart Tattoo,” you could feel the crowd swell with the kind enthusiasm that only comes from music that really connects with people. The mess of teenagers and twenty somethings showed their love for the band’s newest album (which was co-produced by Dogs On Acid’s Joe Reinhart) as well as 2012’s Of All Things I Will Soon Grow Tired, shouting along, running into each other, and of course jumping off the stage.
Vocalist and guitarist Barry Johnson looked out for the young crowd, even told one guy in particular to calm down, and delivered his vocals with clarity and deeply rooted emotion, especially on “Constant Headache.” The crowd was going crazy the entire time; Mike Bell was an active crowdsurfer, and Reinhart joined in on the mess of bodies to play some air guitar and comically heckle his friends on stage.The endless push towards the stage and the roar of the fans singing along made it an intimate night with spot on instrumentation. While the band has been known for playing double time live in the past, this set was on point with the record’s still fast speed as well as sounding awesome in Union Transfer. Listen to Never Hungover Again here, and check out photos from the show below.

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