Joywave's live show is growing up. Given the themes of their sophomore album Content, fans shouldn't be surprised. A feeling of dread permeates the slicker, darker production and lyricism of their album. But throughout their quick rise (thanks to the one-two punch of “Tongues” and the Big Data song “Dangerous”), they were known as live circuit jokesters who would make many a tongue-in-cheek statement wherever they played. See: their introduction of "Destruction" as the greatest song in the world - a song that they would play twice during the same set. But thankfully, Joywave hasn’t lost their sense of fun.
In the past, Armbruster’s demeanor has been purposely over-the-top, but at their sold-out U Street Music Hall show, they proved that they don't need that pretense anymore when they're a more formidable live presence than they've ever been. In fact, he seemed a bit humbled by the turnout. As they performed in front of six CRT monitors placed on slender columns (a metaphor for technology worship if there ever was one), crowds jumped furiously to the grating, paranoid synths of “Destruction” and sang along about not being good enough during “Doubt”. But the highlights were the slow-burning “Traveling at the Speed of Light” and the encore performance of “Nice House,” where Armbruster donned an acoustic guitar for the first time all night. Thankfully, though, he still has time to make a purposely outlandish/humorous statement or two. After mentioning that their U Hall show was one of the fastest to sell out, they expected that they would next time return to DC at 9:30 Club...and then Merriweather Post Pavilion...and then outer space. We’ll at least hold him to two-thirds of that statement.
Their latest album Content is out now through Cultco Music and Hollywood Records.
Opening for Joywave was the high-energy and well-synchronized band Kopps (who are also labelmates of Joywave) and singer-songwriter Sasha Sloan, who has contributed vocals to artists like ODESZA and Kygo in the past.