Show Review: Joyce Manor at The Bowery Ballroom in NYC, NY (9/15/14)

Nobody really likes Mondays. I don’t have any empirical evidence to back up that claim, but I’m sure most people would agree that Mondays are not a likeable day. But even on this most miserable of days, Monday, September 15 saw The Bowery Ballroom in NYC filled up to see one of Epitaph Records’ newest additions to their roster, Joyce Manor, with support from Seattle’s garagey The Exquisites and Philadelphia’s powerpop group Mike Bell & the Movies.

Mike Bell & the Movies came out first, their performance a blend of their power pop sound and a healthy dose of self-aware humor. Interacting with the crowd as much as possible, the band had no trouble mocking themselves about everything from the quiet response to their guitarist’s Joyce Manor t-shirt. No one in the audience might have known the songs beforehand, but there’s no way that the didn’t convert at least a few people into fans that night. The Exquisites took the stage approximately a half hour later, opting to devote nearly their entire set to fitting in as many songs as possible. The two styles of the opening acts set the tone for what was to come: a fun, in-your-face rock show.

Just after 10pm Mike Bell’s rhythm section came out to introduce Joyce Manor, which mostly consisted of lots of drunken giggling and improvised nicknames. Not that it bothered the band or the crowd in the slightest, as each made up name was met with laughter and applause. It also helped that it wasn’t dragged out, and that Joyce Manor started soon after.

Much like their recorded output, Joyce Manor’s live show is a speedy, no nonsense event. The band plowed through song after song, pulling tunes that ranged from their newest full length, Never Hungover Again, all the way back to their 2009 demo. The band kept their banter to a minimum, stopping only to thank the opening acts and once to call out ‘hardcore tough guys with Morrissey’ haircuts for ruining other people’s good times. Even the band’s approach to their encore reflected the band’s fast paced nature: the band ran off stage to take a quick shot before jumping right back to close the night with “Five Beer Plan” and “Leather Jacket”.

Despite their set barely cracking 40 minutes, and that’s only including the introductions and the time it took to thank everyone for coming out, the night was a success. It was loud and fast, and crammed full of songs, making it everything that a Joyce Manor fan could want or expect out of a live performance.


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