Joyce Manor / Algernon Cadwallader - Live in Hamden (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Joyce Manor / Algernon Cadwallader

Joyce Manor / Algernon Cadwallader: Live in Hamden

Live in Hamden (2012)

live show


3.5
I've been a fan of Joyce Manor since hearing their promising Constant Headache demo a couple years ago, but every time they would play near me, I'd have far more desirable plans. Last year, they played Long Island at the same time I was guinea-pigging a lucrative deal for a prospective dental studen...

I've been a fan of Joyce Manor since hearing their promising Constant Headache demo a couple years ago, but every time they would play near me, I'd have far more desirable plans. Last year, they played Long Island at the same time I was guinea-pigging a lucrative deal for a prospective dental student's test several states away; earlier this year, they came to Boston right on the date that would be most convenient for me to travel to New York and see Refused; most recently, they came through town right against the mewithoutYou/Kevin Devine tour. Fortunately, a last-minute ride offer to Connecticut's the Space to see JM's run with Algernon Cadwallader finally gave me the opportunity to see the band the night before that.

The Space is sort of like a really huge furnished basement–with all the random crap on the walls (largely old records and flyers, granted), it's kind of like the DIY version of a T.G.I. Friday's. With the respectively low ceiling and stage, it's hard to snag a decent vantage point at times (especially at a sold-out show like this one), but it's not a bad place to catch a gig.

FULL DISCLOSURE: The two openers on this show are on a label you may have heard of that happens to also be run by my label's manager. Naturally, you might be inclined to think I have nothing but nice things to say about both bands. Granted, that's kind of the case.

SIRS played first to a polite crowd and made perfect sense on the bill: Their style of mid-'90s noodle-emo wasn't a far cry from the Cap'n Jazz worship of the co-headliner, just with more distortion and less spazz (save the warmly received closing song). There were some cool time changes, too.

The World Is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die is a sentence in and of itself. They are, however, a pretty great band too. I noticed that the last time I saw this band at this very venue, they had suddenly begun to really hit their stride live with an incredibly fluid and atmospheric tone to their songs. This was no exception, with the hometown-ish band receiving an enthusiastic response. They played a couple songs from their forthcoming debut LP, Whenever, If Ever, that more or less blow away prior material. The opener parlayed their usual post-rock-infused emo with a healthier dosage of Appleseed Cast-style meshing–excellent. During "Victim Kin Seek Suit," however, guitarist Chris Teti smashed his forehead on his fellow guitarist's instrument while rocking out, and his area of the stage quickly became a bloody mess. Teti's ladyfriend took him to the hospital shortly thereafter, where he apparently received a glue job, a Charles Manson comparison and a promise it might scar. Quite a trifecta. Despite clear concern, the band played two more without him and didn't miss a beat, with their frontman essentially just handing off the mic to the crowd for "Mega Steve."

Set list (8:08-8:42):

new song
Gordon Paul
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new song
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Victim Kin Seek Suit
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Mega Steve
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I Will Be Okay. Everything.


Algernon followed with a steady near-half-hour of their shredding, elastic emo. I've seen this band play some pretty sloppy sets before, but the trio sounded tight enough here. It didn't take long for the crowd to wreak havoc, though: When AC kicked it off with "Spit Fountain," the front row of kids just about immediately keeled over, knocking the mic stand right down. Everyone seemed pretty stoked per usual, freaking out and singing along (pogoing together mushily for closer "Serial Killer Status" in particular) but Algernon being the minimal lineup they have, they still had room to roam on the stage and do their thing. Definitely an enjoyable setup for Joyce Manor.

Set list (9:06-9:30):

Spit Fountain
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The Stars
Foggy Mountain [?]
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?
Pitfall
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?
?
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Some Kind of Cadwallader
Serial Killer Status


I know it seems like Algernon's steam tailed off a bit with the steady buildup of hype they'd been accumulating, and perhaps that's why Joyce Manor has the closing spot on this tour, but it was still weird to me given the large gap in how much more music the former has. Nevertheless, the crowd reaction totally warranted it. It looked like at least 50 kids bugging out for all 30 minutes Joyce Manor gave them, spilling over onto the stage for opener "Call Out" and later just bum-rushing it completely for "Constant Headache." They wouldn't even let them off the hook without getting a full half-hour set, more or less (see below).

It didn't seem to bother anyone else how much JM neglected their new album, which was quite a pity: They played a whopping one song from their excellent sophomore "LP," Of All Things I Will Soon Grow Tired, which is sort of insane to me. Even if they understandably couldn't recreate the acoustic or synth-driven songs, there's a good handful they imaginably shouldn't have trouble playing. Major bummer. Joyce Manor got me interested in the band, but Of All Things made me a fan, and I was crushed to barely hear anything from it after the 2.5-hour ride. Still, I guess I'm alone on that: When they yelled out "Anything anyone want to hear?", track titles from the self-titled drowned out any others. At least the band played those slightly older jams fairly well, and when you're getting that sort of reaction (in, like, a basement no less), it's almost reasonable to rely so heavily on the older fare. Almost.

Set list (9:49-10:15):

Call Out
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?
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Beach Community
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Violent Inside
Constant Headache
Leather Jacket
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?
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Midnight Service at the Mutter Museum
?
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?
Five Beer Plan
Encore (legit: the audience kept shouting for one more; 10:16-10:19):
Constant Nothing