Hailing from Rochester, New York, JoyWave brought an east coast, enjoyably unusual atmosphere to Foellinger Auditorium on the University of Illinois campus last Wednesday night. JoyWave puts forth an easy going aura with their performance style, that is until the audience hears their music. As an alternative rock band, JoyWave is far from the calm their personalities presented as the band walked on stage. Throughout the night, JoyWave presented contrasts between their personalities and the music, between their stage design and live performance and so on. By creating this unusually contrasted atmosphere, JoyWave set themselves up for an interestingly entertaining performance.
Starting off strong, JoyWave filled the auditorium with their recognizable style and sound. The band had an effortless style both in their musical performance and in their own stage presence. Although the band is arguably a weird mix of people and personalities, the weird factor played into the show overall. Their music, rock alternative, places a heavy hand on the title of what is now techno alternative rock due to their reliance on guitars, drums and electric synthesizers. Utilizing a similar sound in all of their songs, JoyWave provides a new experience in every song, even while using similar themes. During their performance, the band covered some of their more popular tunes like “Tongues”, “Destruction”, “It’s a Trip!”, “Nice House” and “Content”. These fan favorite songs easily encaptured the crowd and had everyone jumping along. Each song, blasting through Foellinger, had a corresponding feeling given off by the band. It was obvious that every member enjoyed each song. It was also obvious that while the band had fun, they also had the talent to carry on a memorable live performance. Not sounding exactly like the record, JoyWave offered what many people seek in a live performance, actual human voice and talent and all of the twists and turns along the way.
One of the most noticeable aspects of live performance is the show a band puts on just by being there. The lead singer, Dan Armbruster, offered no exception to this observation. Taking delight in singling out audience members during songs and breaks, Dan Armbruster did not hold back in upholding the “weird” reputation JoyWave already has. This weird factor is not bad, it goes along with the music and encourages the craziness of the band and influences the audience as a result. If you were so lucky as to meet Dan Armbruster’s eyes during his scanning of the crowd, tunnel vision set in and there was no looking away. From experience, it can be confidently confirmed that this experience was not only intimidating but also thrilling, making you feel like the only person in the crowd. During talk breaks, Dan and his band members spoke with the crowd, asked questions and fraternized with the audience members. Contrasting their chaotic nature with these calm breaks, the band continued to draw opposites between their stage presence and their music as a whole.
JoyWave puts on a show that, of course, showcases their music and envelopes the crowd in their live performance, but also infects a sense of chaotic weirdness into every audience member to make them feel as if they are part of the band. Maybe it was the small venue, or maybe it was the intense eye contact and fraternization of the band, but JoyWave successfully created an atmosphere where everyone was a part of what JoyWave prides itself to be. Presenting raw musical talent and excitement for performing live, JoyWave brought a new musical sound and atmosphere to a new campus in an extremely fun and enjoyable way.