Live Review: Mt. Joy

The Troubadour  West Hollywood, CA

Contact: Inge Colsen, Gold Atlas [email protected]

Web: mtjoyband.com

Players: Matt Quinn, lead singer, guitar; Sam Cooper, guitar, background vocals; Jackie Miclau, keyboard; Michael Byrnes, bass; Sotiris Elioipoulos, drums

Material: Sharing music from Mt. Joy (2018), Rearrange Us (2020), and Orange Blood (2022), along with new tracks “Highway Queen” and “She Wants to Go Dancing,” indie rockers Mt. Joy played to an enthusiastic young crowd at the Troubadour for almost two hours ahead of their 50-city North American tour (including their inaugural Hollywood Bowl show). The evening included Tom Petty, Fatboy Slim and Fleetwood Mac cover tunes, showcasing the group’s diversity and musical chops, in a setlist that included vulnerable moments, heavy driving funk-rock and southern feel, and energetic pop.

Musicianship: From the fun vibe and energetic, tight drumming on “Evergreen,” to great grungy guitar sound, tight rhythms, catchy guitar loops, and stellar breakdowns, this band makes their sound seem easy. Lowkey road trip soundtrack “Strangers” added sing-along scat inserts and a great drop to the guitar and bass section, with a stripped-down vocal outro. “Dirty Love” had beautiful keyboard interludes, highlighting Jackie Miclau’s incredible playing (showcased again in Fatboy Slim’s “Praise You”), along with Matt Quinn’s gorgeous falsetto (appearing again in “Bathroom Light”), and a dramatic cutoff, spotlighting fantastic communication. 

Performance: From the line outside the door right up to show time, and a packed house, Mt. Joy gave off a ‘boys next door,’ vibe, while delivering stellar musicality, accentuated in their stellar use of time and stylistic transitions. “Lemon Tree” shared a delicious bass and kickdrum bounce and build, with a fabulous funky bass solo on audience favorite, “I’m Your Wreck.” “Johnson Song” revealed an amazing "decomopositional" ending, with each instrument dropping out one at a time for an extraordinary effect.

Summary: Crowd participation on “Highway Queen,” “I’m Your Wreck” and “Astrovan” lit up the room as the group delivered an eclectic and heartfelt mix of Americana rock, and moody, danceable pop. Mt. Joy creates the perfect ‘road trip vacation-meets-bestie hangout’ sing-along soundtrack. With their standout superpower of creating a cohesive, palpable energy within their performance space, they navigate between head-boppers, heart-wrenching ballads, and party anthems (especially on singable shanty show closer, “Silver Lining”).