Joywave at House of Blues Chicago

When we went to House of Blues, we were there just to cover Great Good Fine Ok. Something about the name Joywave sounded familiar, even if we couldn’t place it initially, so we decided to stay for the rest of the show.

We didn’t realize it to the end of the show when they played “Tongues”–of course they saved it for last–but we’d been listening to Joywave for ages. “Tongues” is a huge hit (ft. KOPPS, which the drummer proudly displayed on his t-shirt), but they’re still probably better known as being the featured artist on Big Data’s “Dangerous.” Everything you picture in your mind when you think of an “indie band” is precisely what you get on stage with Joywave.

They perform their songs with a certain air of pomp and circumstance. Everything was calm, cool and collected, which isn’t a bad thing, but it lacked the emotional outbursts that would elevate a similar performance to something more grandiose. They were, technically, perfect. Everything sounded exactly as it should have. Everything was in its right place. And yet, the performance seemed like it needed something that would make you tell your friends “you ABSOLUTELY have to see Joywave live!” instead of sending them other random texts from the front row of the audience (yeah, we saw that happen).

The band sounds great. They have a cohesive, “indie” style. They have a Brooklyn vibe (they’re actually from Rochester). There are accessories, celebrity look-alike comparisons and a beat you can dance to. The only thing missing seemed to be a genuine desire to be there.

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