Joyce Manor Live @ Concord Music Hall

Emily Cosgrove | February 3, 2017

Friday night’s Joyce Manor show at Concord Music Hall turned out to be a wild, high-energy night filled with lots of crowd-interaction, moshing, and all around great vibes. The night opened up with the band Mannequin Pussy. The band hails from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and grew up as childhood friends. The band’s chemistry was apparent onstage throughout the whole night, and while all the members were able to keep up with their high-energy tracks, the real standout was the lead vocalist and guitarist Marisa Dabice. Being the frontwoman of an all-male backed band, she stole the show. From one second her vocals would go from a soft velvety purr to a high-pitched throaty yell. The band really displays a wide variety of songs in their set list, from upbeat bangers to soft and sweet tunes. While their new songs have almost a surfy, garage rock vibe, they also clearly have stayed true to their pop punk influence. The standout moment was during the end of their set, when Dabice threw down her guitar and thrashed around stage with the rest of the band. At that moment, Mannequin Pussy had the crowd completely wrapped around their finger.
 
Next up in the night was the band AJJ (formerly known as Andrew Jackson Jihad). These guys are equally as high-energy as Mannequin Pussy, but in a completely different way. Since they have been together since 2004, they really have nailed putting on a performance and engaging the crowd. AJJ has a goofy, dad-vibe aesthetic, but in a completely great way. The best way to describe them is psychedelic, folk-influenced indie rock, and that is hardly scratchy the surface of all the different influences found in their music. Throughout their set, each band member matched each others’ energy perfectly, in turn making the crowd go wild. The audience was singing along to every song, with lyrics like, “I’m a straight white male in America/I’ve got all the luck I need” from the song ‘American Tune’. From these lyrics, they are clearly also a band that likes to make a political statement, albeit in a sarcastic, satirical way. The sense of humor delivered along with a high-energy performance made AJJ a great preview for what was to come during Joyce Manor’s headlining set.
 
By the time Joyce Manor hit the stage, the crowd was filled with anticipation. You would think that after all the moshing and dancing around during the first two sets, the audience would be tired, but they were completely ready for the headlining band. Joyce Manor is a band hailing from Torrance, California. They have been together since 2008 and would best be described as emo pop-punk, but their newer material does have more of general punk rock vibe with pop punk influences. The lead vocalist Barry Johnson announced that they had just actually been in Chicago a few months, and were happy to be back for more. The band went through banger after banger of tunes from their discography, old and new, like “Fake I.D” and “Eighteen”. Although sometimes the music in this genre can seem repetitive, Joyce Manor managed to switch it up simply because of their stage presence. All of the band members bring something to the table and add a bit of their own personality throughout the set. By the middle of the show, the audience looked like a sea of people in a complete frenzy, and this continued on until the very end of the show.
 
Overall, it was a high-energy night filled with moshing, dancing, singing, and good vibes. It was great to see the dedication and following that these bands have, and the joy that they bring to the crowd. Hopefully these bands will be back in Chicago soon to bring us all another crazy, music-filled night.