Joywave Lit Up Observatory North Park On ‘Welcome To Hellvetica’ Tour

Kate Kotlyar

Imagine this: your heart thumping as the lights suddenly go down, the crowd cheers and you see a flashing light on stage. That light comes from the rear car lights on a Chevrolet Corvette with a license plate reading “JOYWAVE.” You watch intently as the self-proclaimed “car wash men” walk onto stage and hit the first note of “Coming Apart.” That’s what it’s like to be in the audience at a Joywave concert.

Savannah Conley, the "Welcome to Hellvetica" tour's original opener, performing on Sept. 10. Photo by Kate Kotlyar

Joywave is an indie rock band hailing from Rochester, New York, is currently co-headlining on the “Welcome to Hellvetica” tour with I Don’t Know How But They Found Me (iDKHOW), with opener Savannah Conley. The band is composed of lead singer Daniel Armbruster, guitarist Joseph Morinelli, drummer Paul Brennan, and touring members Kevin Mahoney on bass and Connor Ehman on guitar and keys. On Sept. 10, the band played at the Observatory North Park in San Diego. However, this show was special due to some unforeseen circumstances. The bassist and main singer of iDKHOW, Dallon Weekes, fell ill with laryngitis and was not able to perform, which meant there was an extra opener alongside Conley: Clibbus. Clibbus’s fun and chaotic energy and Conley’s thoughtful lyrics and soft yet powerful tone were the perfect openers for Joywave.

The surprise opener, Clibbus, teases the audience with a mannequin head during his set. Photo by Kate Kotlyar

Their setlist included songs from a mixture of albums, with one song from their 2017 album, “Content,” three songs from “Possession” (2020), four songs from “How Do You Feel Now?” (2015), five songs from “Cleanse” (2022) and two covers of songs on which they were featured, “Dangerous” and “Ugly Ending.”

When introducing “Dangerous,” lead singer Daniel Armbruster mentioned how before the world went into quarantine, the band refused to play the song live on stage, however, after “self reflecting in quarantine,” making the decision to not be “bad guys” and after finding out the song was played in space on a SpaceX mission in 2021, the band reconsidered. “If the song can be played in space, then it sure as hell can be played in San Diego!” Armbruster said.

The band finished their set by not-so-slyly asking the audience to chant, “One more song! One more song!” Armbruster gingerly walked over to the “Encore Lever” and Joywave promptly played “Destruction.” I’m not sure if it was a mixture of the crowd jumping, the clapping, or the heavy bass drum, but amidst the red fog cloud drifting through the venue, I could feel the beat in my chest and I felt like I was one with the song.

Joywave is definitely named correctly because this show sent waves of joy through me. Armbruster’s charisma and witty banter mixed with the good vibes their music sends (despite some emotional lyrics) and the overall outstanding performance make their show a must-see.

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