The crowd was still restless after the opener.
By the time Joywave, the main act, appeared on stage in the “reinvented” Douglass Dining Hall on Saturday night and a clipped voiceover played from the song “Destruction” asking the band to “kindly produce a sound,” the mix of RIT students, Rochester locals, and UR students was beyond cheers.
“It was a lot of fun, and you could tell that the lead singer [Daniel Armbruster] was having a lot of fun interacting with the audience,” Take 5 Scholar Rebecca Holy said. “We’re in their home town so I think it was fun for the band too.”
The connection between the Rochester native band and the University setting was mentioned several times throughout the night. At the beginning of the concert, Armbruster took a poll of the audience, asking those who were Rochester locals and those who were UR students, to raise their hands, respectively.
“Get involved in Rochester,” Armbruster said, speaking to the latter. “Your brains are going to be what makes Rochester great.”
Fittingly, the title band followed UR alumnus Luke Metzler ‘16 at the Student Programming Board’s (SPB) fall concert, who played songs from his 2016 album, “Portrait of the Young Man as an Artist,” over a cheering audience that called him by name.
Joywave opened with their most popular song, “Destruction,” the single from their debut album which, after 17 weeks on Billboard’s alternative songs chart, peaked at #18.
Armbruster’s interactions with the audience consisted not only of his encouragement that students go “hang out” with them in the city, but also asking the crowd to rise, crouch, or sing along with the music.
“They’re doing it,” Armbruster yelled to his fellow band members when everyone began to “bounce lightly” on his command.
While Armbruster had undeniable control of the stage and audience, bassist Sean Donnelly drew considerable attention with his lush, potentially inebriated manner of dancing while playing, letting his jaw go slack at times, closing his eyes, and playing with the bass flipped upside down.
Armbruster repeatedly teased the audience by announcing the creation of new music and then declining to play any of it, bringing his finger to his lips to silence the crowd, and simply wandering to the front of the stage and ignoring the first two rows of people. At the end of the concert, he handed one audience member a backstage pass that became void after the show’s ending.
At the end of the show, Armbruster had the crowd silent and crouching to the floor, and a single member of the audience asked “Destruction?”
“So nice, they played it twice,” Armbruster yelled in response, and the banner behind him was torn down to reveal another sign with “Destruction” written all over it, as the band played an encore of their most successful song—proving correct SPB’s prediction that fans would expect a repeat performance.
In addition to designing the stage, “We have to get all the things for their rider, we have to set up their dressing rooms, we have to set up the day of show, the stage and all that,” senior and SPB Co-President Lauren Birnbaum said. “The students are the ones who pick them up from the airport, drive them around, get their food. We do everything from start to finish.”
SPB chose Joywave with the expectation that their local origins would add to the event’s appeal for students and others in the Rochester area.
Armbruster announced on Saturday that Joywave would perform at Anthology on East Ave on Dec. 3. All proceedings of the show, which will feature many groups, will benefit Tim Avery, a local promoter for the Rochester music scene, who was recently diagnosed with cancer.
Working primarily for the Bug Jar, Avery has booked big names like Mac DeMarco, 1975, Future Islands, King Gizzard and the Wizard Lizard, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, and Jeff the Brotherhood for events in Rochester.
Billy Martin, event organizer and drummer for the band Leus Zeus, explained Avery’s considerable presence in the Rochester music scene.
“He’s a very optimistic, clean-living guy,” Martin said. “His optimism is something that rubs off on everyone else. When you hang around Tim, his high-energy optimism rubs on everyone else.”
Joywave PR representative Benjamin Matusow said that the band’s appearance at the event was as of yet unconfirmed.
Joywave or no Joywave, Anthology will ask for a $20 donation to see other groups including KOPPS, Mikaela Davis, Leus Zeus, Secret Pizza, King Buffalo, and Harmonica Lewinski.
Nevertheless, Armbruster was insistent.
“Help with a great cause and hang out with us again” he said. “Come see us again. Come join us.”