The Philadelphia-bred, Los Angeles-based indie folk band are set to take on SXSW with a hefty schedule next week, and proved why they’re one of 20 acts I’ve deemed can’t miss next week in Austin.
The five-piece band kicked things off with album opener “I’m Your Wreck”, singer and guitarist Matt Quinn’s strong vocals at the forefront. He received help on harmonies from the rest of the band — Sam Cooper, Michael Byrnes (bass), Sotiris Eliopoulos (drums), and Jackie Miclau (keyboards).
The crowd’s enthusiasm was palpable, and it picked up when the band played “Sheep”, one of their earliest songs offered. This was one of the songs Quinn, Cooper, and Byrnes had uploaded to Spotify as just a two-piece, before putting together the rest of the band following the buzz the tracks generated.
“Astrovan” was another one of the older tracks that was a massive singalong — it was also the track that took off on Spotify to the tune of 4 million-plus streams. The expressions on the band members’ faces indicated the excitement felt by watching their first-ever sold-out Los Angeles crowd sing the words back to them, which Quinn confirmed was something new they were experiencing.
Even though the band just released their debut album, that clearly hasn’t stopped the creative juices from flowing. They played a new track that’s not on the record called “Ruins”, a slow-moving bluesy number with some awesome organ adding depth. After favorite “Cardinal” came a Neil Young cover with Quinn mentioning beforehand how of all the various influences the band has, Neil Young was one of the few consistent amongst all five members.
The band closed out the show with a three-song encore. During “Julia”, the crowd seemed at its rowdiest, starting a bit of a dance circle right up front and center. The show culminated in the biggest singalong of the night for “Silver Lining”, sending fans home happy after an entertaining hour-long set. The only surprise to me about the show was that for all the stomp-and-clap bangers on this record, there wasn’t much stomping or clapping. Perhaps down the road that will figure into things a bit more.
Mt. Joy are one of the buzziest bands heading into SXSW 2018 next week — if you’re going to be in Austin, click here to find out where you can see them work their magic.
Long Beach singer-songwriter Korey Dane opened up the show with a memorable set.
Photos by Danielle Gornbein