Quirky is the first word that comes to mind when describing Rochester, NY’s Joywave. The band that frequently posts a hilarious short video series called Coffee with Joywave on their social media accounts, has a special brand of coffee called JoeWave and sells a custom guitar pedal at their merch table for $150 is certainly unique in the landscape of poppy indie bands and their show proved no different.
As Joywave’s opener ended, the band elected to put spliced up sound clips of a very 1930’s sounding man describing some contemporary cutting edge technology instead of the usual fare of yesteryear’s top indie hits. This same voice gave a full 2 minute grand introduction of the band as “The Soundtrack,” after which Joywave took the stage and launched into True Grit.
As was to be expected of a band with just one album, they dutifully executed each song off the new album, changing up the order but not leaving a single track out. The band’s keyboardist was undoubtedly more into the music than anyone else, finding innovative ways to dance, stomp and jump while still playing keyboards and accurately performing his parts.
The band’s quirkiness came out in full view when an inflatable version of he keyboardist emerged onstage about halfway through the band’s set. Joywave’s eccentric frontman Daniel Armbruster explained that they had it custom-made to look like their keyboardist because they thought it was going to be a bit part of their show. When it turned out to not be a big part of their show, they felt the need to bring it out onstage during their tour to justify the money they spent on it. The inflatable keyboardist took a perch around the back of the stage where it stayed up for all of 30 seconds before falling to the ground, where it remained for the duration of Joywave’s set.
The band closed with Somebody New, their second radio hit and then came back for an encore of Tongues, their first radio hit. Halfway through Tongues, however, the band cut themselves off and started playing Destruction, their third single, with Daniel proclaiming, “WHOA WAIT IT’S THE BEST SONG EVER!”
Joywave’s quirkiness came through clear as day throughout their show. Daniel engaged in sarcastic banter with the audience, the rest of the band pranced around stage in an awkward yet endearing fashion and an inflatable keyboardist spent the majority of the show on the ground. Somehow, Joywave managed to pull off all of these feats while still putting on an excellent technical performance and amusing the hell out of their audience.