It was a bit nerve-wracking to drive downtown on Saturday night knowing that it would either keep raining, turn into an epic ice storm, or turn into a snowpocalypse. It was a weird weather day and set to only get a bit weirder and more intense with every passing moment but that was not going to stop me from going to The Fine Line in downtown Minneapolis to catch the one and only Joywave.
Almost Monday was the only opener for the Saturday night show and I was a bit nervous for them as I walked in just about ten minutes to start time and noticed that the crowd was, well, light. Maybe it was the threat of bad weather, maybe there was another show going on in town that I had missed– whatever it was, I was a bit worried as I took my place near the stage. Almost Monday didn’t miss a single beat and as soon as they took the stage, I had forgotten any worry that this band wouldn’t be giving the light audience their all. Little did I know, the audience had filled out nicely and when I finally found the willpower to take my eyes off the stage after their third song, I realized that they were performing to a packed house and were clearly feeding off the energy of the excited crowd.
Almost Monday’s sound is well, so freaking cool. I honestly don’t know how else to put it. It’s a little hip-hop, a little reggae, a little rock, and a whole lot of fun. It was definitely what the audience needed to keep their minds off of what could be worsening weather outside but, the truth is, nobody knew what was going on outside. Almost Monday had the entire audience, myself included, in the palm of their hands. Although I had walked into their set thinking they were a brand new band to me, their sound felt familiar but it wasn’t until they played the final song of their set “Broken People” that I could figure out how I knew this band. “Broken People” may not be my favorite track from Almost Monday but it was one of those tracks that came on when I was working one day and I had to stop everything just to see who it was because I found it to be such a great track. Although the band’s name clearly didn’t stick with me that day, the song did, and seeing that live was a pure treat. Almost Monday’s name will not escape me again. They put on a hell of a show and I expect them to be coming back through sooner rather than later on a headlining tour that will surely pack the house.
I talked about this the last time I saw Joywave back in November of 2018 but Joywave’s music definitely isn’t my thing. It’s a bit too commercial and pop-based for my personal preference. Don’t mistake that as me saying it’s bad, because it’s not. It’s catchy and makes you want to move but still, just not my typical cup of tea. That being said, I will never miss a chance to see this band live. They are geniuses when it comes to stage presence and the delivery of a live show. That’s why I was willing to risk a treacherous drive home and, within the first track of their Saturday night set, I was reminded why I keep coming back for more.Joywave hails from Rochester, New York (shout-out House of Guitars). They have been around since 2010 and have numerous hits that you probably know even if you don’t think you’ve heard of Joywave before. Their sound is an intriguing blend of more commercial indie-rock, pop vibes with this super cool electronic undertone under it. Having opened for The Killers and scored a spot on Lollapalooza, this band clearly knows what they are doing and it is such a treat to see that put on stage right in front of your eyes.
This current run of dates is in support of their new album ‘Cleanse’ and they definitely brought some different things with them. There were these strange shapes covered with black fabric on stage as the lights went down and the audience prepped themselves for what was to come. While the rest of the audience was waiting in anticipation, I found myself just dying to know what was being concealed on the stage. That’s when the stagehands came up and removed the black fabric– a car wash. Joywave had literally brought a car wash to the stage complete with the rear end of a car, PVC pipes holding rollers that were, get this, going around just as if they were part of a car wash. Okay, maybe you just had to be there but from the brake lights on the car blinking along to the set to the rollers constantly going around to the screen in back imitating the visual of soap hitting your windshield– just pure freaking genius.
The carwash wasn’t the only stunning visual during the nearly twenty track set– the number of lights this band brought to the modestly sized Fine Line was blinding in the best way possible. All of these visuals mixed with the undeniable talent of this band and the overall infectious energy of the music left everyone in the packed show dancing around with a smile on their face. his tour had been canceled, postponed– you know, covid things- multiple times and you could feel that the band was just as excited to be back on stage as the audience was to have them on stage. Whether you were singing along to every word like some in the audience, or just taking it all in from the back of the club while sipping on a drink, there was not a moody person in the crowd. It didn’t matter what your day was like or how bad that drive home was going to be, Joywave made us forget it all in such an amazing way.