Review: Joywave and Night Lights play AfterHOURS

1/29/2015 – The Huntington News

By Rowena Lindsay, Inside Editor

Alternative pop band Joywave and Boston-based rock band Night Lights played a show in afterHOURS on Tuesday Jan. 20.

The five-piece band Joywave hails from Rochester, N.Y. While Night Lights is based in Boston, its members come from California, Texas, Japan, Mexico and Norway.

Night Lights opened the show with an hour-long set to a sparse but enthusiastic audience.

While not as vocally strong as they were musically, the band’s sound was upbeat pop rock, and featured great guitar licks and heavy bass lines. The crowd didn’t appear to be familiar with Night Light’s music, but were enjoying the show nonetheless.

Throughout the night, the band played several songs from the its new EP “Here We Come,” including “Here We Come,” and “Make Me Smile,” which got the crowd moving.

Night Lights’ most original song of the night was “Stutter,” an atmospheric number that was a pleasant and creative departure from the band’s typical sound.

While most of the set was upbeat and fast-paced, Night Lights did slow it down for one song towards the end of its set. The lyrics were somewhat lacking and unable to hold the audience’s attention. However, the group was able to pull the audience back and end the set on a thoroughly enjoyable note.

The band is strongest when they are doing straight upbeat rock and the crowd responded positively when Night Lights stuck with its strengths.

By the time Joywave took the stage, the crowd had grown and filled afterHOURS.

Joywave’s alternative techno pop was infectiously catchy and matched the band’s large personality and energy.

The band introduced a lot of new songs off of their upcoming EP, which will be released in April. Although the audience did not seem familiar with much of Joywave’s catalogue, the music was danceable and the crowd was having a good time.

The show started out a bit slow but picked up when the band played “True Grit,” a hit from its 2014 album “How Do You Feel” that captured the audience.

Joywave’s songs tended to drag a little in the middle as the beat got repetitive, but they always started out catchy and finished with a satisfying ending. It was the driving bassline in “Somebody New” that saved the song from falling into this trap and and made it one of the best songs of the night.

Throughout the show,  frontman Daniel Armbruster did a great job connecting with the audience and making conversation without feeling forced.

Armbruster made a joke about how the band always asks for honorary degrees when they play college schools so that “if the band doesn’t work out and we all need to get real jobs, in 20 years – or six months – we’ll be all set.” For the record, Joywave has now collected six honorary degrees, including a B.S. in Business Administration from Northeastern.

Lyrically, the best song of the night was “Golden State,” a poppy upbeat tribute to California and saying goodbye and good riddance to old lovers off Joywave’s 2011 mix tape “777777.”

Joywave ended its set with a self-encouraged encore during which the band played its most popular song “Tongues.” The crowd loved it and the band ended the show on a undeniable high note after promising to be back in Boston later this year at the House of Blues, opening for The Bleachers, on April 7.

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