Joyce Manor’s Brooklyn Steel show was electric, and the most modern, up-to-date take on classic, emo-punk. They jolt and shake with their guitars and drums as if every time someone said “No!” to them was being relived within their performance. That release of negativity explains why their crowd was filled with people, body surfing, bouncing, singing along, and waving their hands like the Holy Ghost had come. Maybe, it did! Yet, it was not bringing messages as much as my favorite thing: catharsis.
Joyce Manor’s lead singer, Barry Johnson, approaches the microphone as if he just returned from a fight in the parking lot. This may sound like one of my more outlandish comparisons, but “read” me out. When you get in a fight, you run to your friends and comforters to report on the jerk that had the “cojones” to call you a jerk. This is the mentality from which he sing songs like, “Violent Inside”, “Chumped”, and “This Song Is A Mess But So Am I”, which makes the audience his friends. We rile with, around, and for him as he punches through tracks like a fist toward a face. Of course, a graphic image, but when your hits are titled “Constant Nothing” and “Million Dollars To Kill Me”, you are not singing to or for pretty flowers and perfume. He drips sweat, adrenaline, and building rage at the person who DARED crossed him; even leaning forward to the crowd as if to tell them of the fighting tale, while also representing the instant surge of anger that hits you when someone who was wrong told you that you were wrong. Thus,you watch as he literally turns on your spiritual switch that says “F**K Everyone!”. And why not?! I love humanity, but, frankly, we are crazy! We are the only species that has “reason”, but are also the only ones that systemically destroy themselves. In that hypocrisy, Joyce Manor finds their hype machine/music.
Joyce Manor intrigues me with their sound. Their rock, particularly their melodies, has a “surfer” feel, but carries a discord to its lyrics that might be more associated with a surfer riding the waves of a tsunami. Johnson’s voice sounds like it is casually drowning in the sorrows and angst from living in self-destruct while knowing it is wrong. We have all openly made bad decisions, and bulldozed towards them because, sometimes, it gets too hard to hold yourself together. Thus, for one night, you simply stop. Johnson’s vocals were made for the creeping ease of insanity, while showing that music can be its reliever. This only made the crowd love him and Joyce Manor even more, which is why if there is ever one night when you want to say, “F IT! I am not okay, and I need some music!”, look up Joyce Manor on tour by clicking here.