Shows on weeknights work much better within a certain size area. The smaller the venue is, the more it feels like a casual after-uni respite before it’s back to the Fisher workshop the next morning. Marrickville’s Factory Floor, a capacity of 250 people, no seats, no barricade, all culminated in what makes these nights a great way to end your frustrating and disappointingly unproductive day.
Creating an awesome vibe at a show is a two-way street, and the headlining act, Cali-based emo/pop-punk band Joyce Manor, indeed played their part in making this happen as they effortlessly brought an immense level of electrifying excitement to the room. They brought 90 minutes of pure contagious energy that had everyone jumping around and singing along in a unified emo extravaganza.
Although, what also could’ve aided the excitement of Joyce Manor’s performance was the fact that they were preceded by local emo sulkers Oslow. While Oslow’s introverted and standoffish persona may be effective as a solitary listening experience, that guise wasn’t executed all too well by the band in this live-show context. Oslow are undoubtedly a solid band when it comes to making music and have some pretty great songs to their name. However, the severe lack of crowd interaction, reinforced by their awkward stage presence both just made this 6-song set quite a slog to get through.
But just before I was sent into an emo-induced stupor, Joyce Manor assertively took over the stage and suppressed this ambiance with their standard-length 100 second track “beach community”. Everyone was instantly hooked by front-man Barry Johnson’s driving zeal in pumping this crowd up and giving off as much vibrancy as he could muster up. Barry would not back down, as the show continued, his energy grew and grew, as did the crowd reciprocated.
There’s a quote about of a Ramones show which goes “I couldn’t tell if they played ten 1-minute songs, or one 10-minute song”. While Joyce Manor’s set were more structured than a Ramones set, a similar notion could be applied here. The band just pumped out one short and sweet punk-y banger after another, each separated with the wit of Barry’s between-song casual banter. It all felt very off-the-cuff especially as they started taking requests about halfway through which lead to slight debates over which song to play next. But with all the free-spirited attitude, the band still played tightly, and sounded fantastically together.
Joyce Manor know how to own the stage, and wilfully invited us to join them in having an awesome time as they seized the opportunities that come with having no barricade between them and the audience. They played well, worked a strong stage presence, and wholly captivated the audience for a party-filled 90 minutes that flew right by.