Joywave @ The Constellation Room – 02/15/2018
On only the fourth night of the second leg of their “Thanks. Thanks for Coming Tour”, the Constellation Room at the Observatory in Santa Ana played host to indie alt rock band Joywave on Thursday, February 15th. The five piece outfit from Rochester, NY was celebrating their fourth straight sell out and packed the tiny side room —forcing many fans to watch from the hallway. The steamy space was appropriate this evening as the band scorched through an 80 minute set that was highlighted with catchy tunes off of their latest release Content, which was released last July and debuted as the #10 album on the alternative album chart on iTunes.
After entertaining open sets by KOPPS and Sasha Sloan, the upstate New Yorkers (fronted by their quirky lead singer Daniel Armbruster) immediately got the crowd jumping with “Content”, “Now” and “It’s A Trip”. Mid set standout tunes included “Destruction” and “Golden State”, which included additional guitar accompaniment by Travis Johansen, a former bandmate who now plays with KOPPS. Recently released as a single, “Doubt” was not only a highlight but was also performed just last week on the Late Show w/ Stephen Colbert.
Armbruster spent time in between songs to carry out banter between the audience and bandmates, sharing that the night prior they spent in Long Beach aboard the Queen Mary ghost hunting. Additionally he was so impressed with the Observatory lighting technician that he joked about taking him on tour with the band. On stage the band easily filled up the small Constellation Room stage with 4 lighted pillars that each supported old school CRT displays, each ran video or simulated DOS prompts through the performance.
Unfortunately missing from the set was “Dangerous”, a tune that they guested on with Big Data that reached #1 on the Billboard Alt chart in 2013. Their biggest hit to date, “Something New” killed it and was followed by “Going To A Place”—which helped close out the main set. An extended four song encore included “Tongues”, a catchy tune that includes vocals from another member of KOPPS—lead singer Patricia Patron.
Catching the band live for the second time, I can’t help but be impressed with the band’s infectious melodies and ability to be progressive but not take themselves too seriously. A fixture on the festival scene, Joywave is a polished rock machine now. The band continues on their current headlining tour through early March, culminating with a hometown show in Buffalo on March 7th—no surprise that many of the remaining dates already sold out. They join Jared Leto and Thirty Seconds To Mars on select dates of their MONOLITH arena and amphitheater tour in June.