Joyce Manor, WAVVES, Culture Abuse
Concord Music Hall – Chicago, IL – 11/15/17
Words and photos by Megan Hilaire
Fellow California punk bands, WAVVES and Joyce Manor, packed the Concord Music Hall in Chicago. There seemed to be two different crowds in the venue, fans there for Wavves, and fans there for Joyce Manor. Despite this, both crowds matched each other’s excitement. Throughout the entire night, fans sang passionately along and there was always a mosh pit swirling around.
Culture Abuse opened the night and played some jams from their 2016 record, “Peach.” Their music is distorted and unpredictable, yet fits together cohesively. Lead vocalist David Kelling had a maraca in hand as he sang out their fast tunes, and it was difficult to not sing along with him. While punk influences are fundamental to Culture Abuse’s sound, there are a lot of different elements that make it difficult to stick them into a single genre. They played a short set, but effectively raised the energy level in the room.
Wavves took the stage next, and their set was intense right off the bat. They opened with “Way Too Much,” which comes from their fifth album, “V.” Both the band and crowd were getting rowdy, as they both were endlessly jumping and shifting around. There’s something effortlessly fun about Wavves’ live performance, and it’s contagious. Even people who appeared to be less familiar with their music were smiling and nodding along.
Their set-list didn’t seem to favor one album though Wavves did release a new album earlier this year called “You’re Welcome.” They played quite a few tracks from it, but the pit got more chaotic for their classic tunes like “My Head Hurts,” and “Nine is God.”
It was toward the end of the set-list where everyone really got crazy. During the last song of the night, “Green Eyes,” lead vocalist/guitarist Nathan Williams took a running start and did a front flip off the stage and into the crowd. The band exited the stage shortly after, leaving the crowd chanting for more.
A change in the pit happened shortly after Wavves’ set as Joyce Manor fans made their way closer to the front. Once the lights went out cheers from the crowd echoed throughout the venue as Joyce Manor made their entrance. They launched right in with “Beach Community,” and immediately fans were head banging and accompanying lead vocalist/guitarist, Barry Johnson, in singing out the tune.
What’s really cool about Joyce Manor is that they can fit in a lot of fan favorites into their set because most of their songs are around two minutes long. This really fuels the crowd with energy because they’re constantly getting excited at the start of each track. Their performance was packed with expressive vocals, tuneful guitars, and rapid drums. Songs like “Violent Inside,” “Victoria,” and “Chumped,” were powerful live, and it didn’t take long for crowd surfers to start cropping up.
Fans were also thrilled to hear songs from Joyce Manor’s latest record, “Cody,” which came out last year. In addition to playing the singles, they played a few others like “Stairs” and “Over Before It Began.” The band finished their set with “Catalina Fight Song,” and left very briefly before returning to the boisterous crowd to play an encore. Joyce Manor exited the stage to an ecstatic round of applause, and fans continued to recall their favorite moments of the show as they made their way out of the venue.