Joyce Manor - “Violent Inside”
“You’ll go looking for an excuse / To feel sad or confused
When all you want to do is let them all feel abuse.”
Tonight, I’m going to see Joyce Manor play a sold-out show in Connecticut at the top of a stacked bill that includes Algernon Cadwallader, The World Is A Beautiful Place…, and Sirs. I’m well aware of Joyce Manor’s current popularity within the punk scene, but thinking about how well this show is doing still surprises me. Shows at The Space rarely sell out, and when they do, it almost never happens in advance. The last time I can remember a show selling out there in advance was when Max Bemis played a solo show, and that was months ago. Even though a good portion of this show’s marketability is due to the strength of the overall lineup — each of the supporting bands has a strong draw in CT — Joyce Manor are headlining. Something tells me that this show would still do well without the auxiliary support.
I’ve never professed to be a Joyce Manor fan, but I can certainly understand what makes them appealing. The hooks are there in full effect, the songs are brief but occasionally memorable, and the band has a solid image that’s marketable to disaffected tumblr-blogging, pizza-eating cool kids who would have been scenesters in 2007 if they had been born a few years earlier. I saw the band open for Andrew Jackson Jihad a few months ago, and although I bought into their product during the course of the show, it left a bad taste in my mouth in retrospect. In one particularly cringeworthy moment, a wheelchair-ridden Andrew Jackson Jihad fan had made his way near the front so that he could see the stage prior to Joyce Manor’s set, and within 30 seconds of the show starting, he had multiple people jumping, falling, and even climbing on top of him just so that they could have their precious few minutes of stage diving time. Within minutes, he was forced to actually retreat to the back of the venue after an altercation that ended with a particularly angry Joyce Manor fan threatening to beat him up. Keep in mind that this guy was paraplegic.
The nihilistic, violent attitude that Joyce Manor’s music promotes is certainly fun and obviously appealing to most people who ascribe to the ‘independent’ philosophy, but I think that in the long term, it’s neither productive nor necessarily healthy. In the traditional sense, feeling “violent all the time” is very ‘punk’, but in a more utilitarian sense, feeling anything all the time is probably not beneficial to anybody. In a musical sense, it’s easy for me to dismiss this band as nothing special, mostly because they seem to employ one or two basic songwriting formulas that lead to a handful of great songs — “Beach Community” and “Constant Headache” are particular favorites — and plenty of tossed-off tracks that sound like lesser imitations. But ideologically, I think I have a more serious issue with this group that I have been trying for some time to come to terms with; their music makes me feel fundamentally suppressed as somebody who cares about things beyond companionship and the apparently critical importance of ‘having a good time’.
Inevitably, this post will be reblogged by the same devotees that I spent the past few paragraphs chiding, and this commentary will be erased — who wants to read it anyway? What I’m trying to say is that Joyce Manor makes me confused. Despite my past problems with the band, certain fans, and (let’s be honest) their relatively insubstantial music, I can’t quite stop listening to them. Joyce Manor, to me, is becoming a case study for how far I can push myself to enjoy something that I feel is wrong. My appreciation for this group will potentially change depending on how comfortable I become with myself, or, on the other hand, how strong my ideological convictions become in time. Until that turning point, I remain — perhaps hypocritically — very excited for their show tonight. Very excited, and fairly perplexed at my own tendency to look way too deep into everything.
Stream “Violent Inside” above, and pick up their latest album Of All Things I Will Soon Grow Tired from Asian Man Records.
43 Notes/ Hide
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- cheerdown said: it’s always ok to like problematic things, as long as you acknowledge why they are problematic, and i think you’ve done a pretty good job of that.
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- ipissedinyourmountaindew said: Did you see them at a show before 4/20? Because at the 4/20 show JM was giving everyone shit for crowdsurfing, and maybe that’s why…
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- sunsetparkers said: it sold out I WAS GOING TO GO :[
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