Article and Photos by Michael W. Bright
Louisville, KY – Before Wednesday night’s performance, and everyday thereafter, my personal Mt. Joy playlist hadn’t even begun to get stale. It’s probably because hooks like, “But if it’s the drugs, the women, the wine, the weed, the love… just take it oh-oh-oh,” (“Silver Lining”), won’t let you go. And that’s why they’re called hooks. So shoving so many phenomenal lures into a night’s set, then pacing that set so perfectly? Well, its not so difficult to see why this folk-rock band was getting press in Billboard, on NPR and appearing on Conan, before the official release of their debut album.
The evening’s opening band, Wilderado, proved to be perfect touring partners, intuitively connecting to an unfamiliar audience with passion, presence and that intangible exchange where each is charmed by the other. Lead singer/guitarist Max Rainer guided the Texas-Oklahoma-LA flavored indie-rock quartet through a large handful of their original songs. Rainer’s exceptional voice coupled with the band’s stellar harmonies came bundled in a set of soaring, magnetic rock jams. This young band should start to explode.
Its been a year since Mt. Joy released their self-titled first album and its still creating a buzz, due in part to their live performances. They’ve spent most of the past year touring, naturally, even playing to huge audiences at festivals. The non-stop playing hasn’t dulled their enthusiasm and their Headliner’s show sparkled. They opened with the aforementioned, “Silver Lining,” so even those folks who might not know the band were lured in by the refrain.
The song that started it all for Mt. Joy in 2016, “Astrovan,” went viral, and, according to the band’s latest count, just passed 10 million streams on Spotify. That explains why the entire audience joined in the chorus, “I don’t wanna see those tears again, you know, Jesus drives an Astrovan,” and, as the song recounts, is listening to the Dead while smoking a blunt. Equally poignant and fantastic is, “Bigfoot.” But that’s for another day.
Mt. Joy is on the road and dates are still being added. See http://www.mtjoyband.com/tour