Last Thursday night Indie rock outfit Mt. Joy, comprised of Matt Quinn (lead vocals, guitar), Sam Cooper (guitar), Sotiris Eliopoulos (drums), Jackie Miclau (keys), and Michael Byrnes (bass), made the third stop of their late summer/fall tour in San Diego. Taking notes from the title of their most recent release, Orange Blood, the night was a display of intense colors and equally rich lyricism.
To start the night, Mt. Joy slated two stellar openers in the same musical vein. Wilderado, comprised of Max Rainer (lead vocals, guitar), Tyler Wimpee (guitar, vocals), Justin Kila (drums), David Arthur Stimson (bass), and Jack Malonis (multi-instruments) played some of their crowd-favorite hits “Surefire” and “Rubble to Rubble”. Following them, local San Diego band, Sun Room, made up of Luke Asgian (lead vocals, guitar), Ashton Minnich (guitar), Max Pinamonti (bass), and Gibby Anderson (drums) got their home-town venue up on their feet and dancing–a form that was kept for the remainder of the night.
By the time 9:30 rolled around the crowd was sufficiently warmed up for the appearance of Mt. Joy. Fresh off of the release of, Orange Blood, concertgoers could anticipate a night full of beloved nostalgia-inducing hits as well as a tracklist of soon-to-be favorites. Standing in front of three lit-up orbs, Quinn began the set by playing the first single from Orange Blood, “Lemon Tree.” The energy that “Lemon Tree” stoked was amplified by a crowd that danced down from the upper stands, packing the seats and aisles closest to the stage full.
Some standout moments occurred when Mt. Joy departed from their studio arrangements. Notably, a cover of the Grateful Dead’s “Fire on the Mountain” showcased an extended drum solo by Eliopoulos that didn’t last nearly long enough. Towards the end of their set, “Julia” featured a mid-song mashup of “Ain’t No Sunshine,” “Crazy,’’ and a piano solo by Miclau before wrapping up and leaving the crowd in a tizzy.
The night rounded out with an encore that included, “Bathroom Light” and concluded with one of the most beloved songs in Mt. Joy’s discography, “Silver Lining.” In a celebration that mirrored those in front of them, the band jumped around the stage singing,
“And tell the ones you love you love them
Teach only what you know, and oh
You better know it well.”
Before bowing out, Quinn, in a moment of genuine reflection, stated, “we’re just getting this tour started, and this one felt good.” If the rest of Mt. Joy’s shows sound and feel even a bit like this one (they will) then you’re in for an auditory and visual treat.
Mt. Joy is known for their melancholy lyrics paired with upbeat musical rhythms, creating a juxtaposition that just feels right. In a live setting, joy unfurls and compounds as a crowd joins in the celebration of the human experience. This feeling is succinctly stated outright in their song “Astovan,”
“maybe we’re all alone together now”
and tells you much of what to take away from a night with Mt. Joy. Art, Music, and the search for Meaning is something felt deep down, internally, and universally.
Catch Mt. Joy on tour for the next few months, with support from Wilderado at select dates.
Photos + Review by: Lauren Hartmann