Wednesday night Joywave and Jetty took the stage at The Met. Before the concert, three members of Jetty, filled with excitement and nervous energy, stood in a circle by the entrance and began to sing. It was entertaining for the few of us in the room at the time and got us all pumped for the opening. An hour or so before the show started, I talked to band members Mike Spillane and Dave Davignon. After a couple minutes discussing their “winter-fall fashion” of the night—Spillane sporting a button down with a brightly colored “hot pocket” and an infinity scarf his mother had knitted him and Davignon dressed in a number inspired by Tommy Hilfiger—they filled me in on what the band had been up to recently: working on an album. Currently, four out of the nineteen song ideas they’ve had so far have made the cut. They’re hoping for 11 songs on the new album. Mike explained that since the members of the band live far away from each other they write and compose through email, sending pieces of the song to each member who then adds to it until a song is born. When they can, Jetty journeys to The Lumberyard, the barn that band member Mike Conway converted to a recording studio. Spillane also gave me a heads up that they were going to play a new song and that I should look out for a tambourine. With that, the BRU Crew took its places and waited for the concert to begin.
When Jetty took the stage members of the band and the audience uttered sporadic shushes and giggles. Then, when it was quiet, someone whistled the mockingjay tune from the Hunger Games which garnered laughter from everyone in the room. Then, the band unleashed their talent. Listening to Jetty is always a pleasant surprise. Each time, you are reminded of why you fell in love with the band in the first place, and it is always a treat to see the reactions in the crowd while they convert the non-believers. “It’s Wednesday night. Let’s dance!” Conway told the audience. I eagerly awaited the tambourine and was not disappointed. It appeared that the band was just as excited to hear the song as I was to hear it. The band, who, in the past, has benefitted from audience involvement, suffered a slight setback from the small Wednesday crowd, but still gave it their all and played a great set.
“Ladies and gentlemen, if you are waiting for Joywave, we are those people,” Joywave lead singer Daniel Armbruster alerted the crowd through his late golden microphone. The crowd cheered, and the music commenced. If you’ve never seen Joywave live, like I hadn’t before Wednesday night, it’s quite an experience. Armbruster plays with the mic stand while singing as if the music is so vigorous and the stand is the only thing keeping him from flying away. In between songs, he utters witty and somewhat pretentious lines to the audience. For instance, before “True Grit,” he told the audience “This next song is a new one…It’s not? This next song is an old one. It’s called ‘True Grit.’ Pretend it’s new.” Keyboardist Ben Bailey is almost amusing to watch. When playing, his body pulses—that’s the only way I can think to describe the motion—as if he is about to dance—as if the music is about to explode from his chest—but he is doing his very best to control it. Armbruster announced that a new record would be coming out in 2014, then, quickly corrected himself, amending the release year to be 2015. He then said, “We’re in Providence right? At least, I got that down.” Unfortunately, the Met is located in Pawtucket, as an angry male audience member kept on yelling to correct him throughout the concert. At one point during the concert, bassist Sean Donnelly played and sang with a look on his face akin to someone possessed. I wondered what he was thinking, unfortunately, I was not able to ask him.
Apparently, the band has rocked a little too hard during their tour because halfway through their set, Armbruster’s golden mic broke and had to be replaced. “I’m probably going to get swine flu (from the new mic),” he said when he was given a replacement. Everyone in the audience was in a dancing mood, despite the day of the week, and I caught Davignon and other members of Jetty showing off their crazy moves in the crowd. Armbruster took a brief break from singing to list the things he knows about Providence. Included on the list was East Side Pockets which he named the best falafel on earth—the second best is in Germany. Near the end of their set Armbruster told the audience, “Let’s do one more and then a fake encore, and then we’ll wrap it up.” During their penultimate song, his glasses fell off his face. Girls in the audience cheered, and someone returned them to him. He put them back on. I admire his concentration: he never stopped singing during the entire incident. Then, the song ended and he said good night, but began to chant, “One more song! One more song!” until it spread through the crowd. At which point the band began to sing their hit “Tongues.”
After the concert, Armbruster stated that he has enjoyed the touring experience. He also reminisced about the band’s performance on Late Night with Seth Meyers. “I thought I was going to be nervous, but I wasn’t.” He recalled the awesome moment when he met Seth Meyers. Our conversation soon deviated from the concert to politics, following a discussion of the band’s participation with Rock the Vote. Joywave’s manager is on the board for the organization and its president Ashley Spillane is the sister of Mike Spillane of Jetty. Armbruster stresses the importance of Obamacare, especially for musicians who can’t always afford their own health care.
For upcoming tour dates for Joywave, click HERE!
To make your vote count, visit Rock the Vote!
(Photos Courtesy of WBRU Photography Interns Ilgin Korugan and Beth Desta)