05-10-12

James Joyce Manor

"Kunt gij zondag werken, Karel?" - "Eh, ja, maar ik moet wel door rond 7 uur. Of 8 uur gaat ook nog." I'm glad I said that, cause otherwise I would've missed one of the coolest shows of September. I had already missed quite a lot of cool shows cecause of other priorities, but Sunday the 30th of September was clearly marked and I was resolute to attend.

So after a busy day at work I took the train to Antwerp, and I hurried to thee Kavka venue cause I figured Apologies, I Have None would have started already. And I was right, unfortunately. I walked in and I could hear them play 60 Miles I think. I don't remember which song it was but it was good. Apparently their fanbase in Europe is not that great, though I think they're doing well in Britain. Nonetheless there were quite a few people there for a Sunday night, watching the band play.
Now, I'm gonna pull the hipster card this time only because this is one of the few occasions I can, but: "I was totally into Apologies, I Have None when they were still underground." I actually saw them play a great set last year in front of 10 people or so. They only had the Joiners & Windmills/Sat In Viccy Park 7" out then, but they convinced me. I guess I'm not that good of a hipster cause they were a 2-piece band before that and a good hipster would've known about them then and stopped liking them when they became a 4-piece band.
Anyway, I saw 'em again at reading fest last month, their debut London has been out for a while now and I must say I'm a solid fan now. So, naturally, I loved their show! They have absolutely killer harmonies, kinda their trademark (I compared them to the Copyrights in the last year's blogpost, which holds true for sense of harmonizing), and also really cool melodies, contrast dynamics and overall use of song construction. Each instrument is now pretty crucial to make the songs come to live.
I guess you could argue that some of their songs sound alike, but that doesn't bother me at all and I'd like to call it coherent songwriting rather than sounding alike. Especially when you get into it more you notice these guys have great ideas and a definite view on their musical output.
'nyway, a lot of emotion and stuffz. Anthematic, big singalong parts, without the actual singalong by other people than me and a few other weirdos in the crowd. Stellar performance. (I think stellar is a good term here because they're British and that word sounds kinda British. Yes, that's how I write reviews. Gigiddy.)

Then, after they had done playing and I saw a good half or more of their set, an incinerating force from the Californian country was on the stage in the form of Joyce Manor. Not Joyce Manure. Not Joyce Major or Minor. No, they're Joyce Manor. Four guys playing their hearts out. Awesome. I was "worried" that I wouldn't know any of the new songs and they would play a lot of those, but au contraire! Almost their entire debut full length was played, and couple other, including 2 or 3 new songs (that sounded great, I didn't hesitate buying the record after the show) and a Murder City Devils cover. I lost shit during Beach Community (a very preserved form of losing shit, though this is probably my favourite song of theirs), during Constant headache (a slightly more open version of losing shit, including dancing around and jumping in Domien's back screaming words), and during motherfucking Five Beer Plan (all-out shit-losing, that song is dope! included losing shit and also singing out of tune very loudly on my part.)
On the other hand, there was a definite Sunday-atmosphere, so most people were like "OH MAN I'M NOT GONNA MOVE ARE YOU CRAZY MOVING IS SUPER DUMB I'M NOT MOVING ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME" so there wasn't a lot of animation on the crowd. Joyce Maneur (oops!) played an amazing show though, it was tight, interesting and they're just a really nice punk band. They played the right songs, had the right attitude, the right smiles, the right vibe. On of the coolest shows I've seen recently. Srsly. Joyce Manor is a real cool band, as my bud Bram told me about a year ago. I'm fucking glad I listened to him.
Always believe den Bram.

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