Portland sister-trio Joseph rolled into The Parkway Theater last night with their ‘Requests Only Tour’. The trio traveled lightly as Natalie Closner Schepman, and twins Allison Closner and Meegan Closner carried along a few guitars and a mailbox for fans to enter their song requests. The set-list was then comprised of these hopes, which did not let anyone down as a sold-out show.
By the vibe of the first three songs that kicked off a highly energetic evening, the audience was in for something special. “In My Head”, “SOS”, and “Green Eyes” all charged up the theater. Although all larger hits for them, the treats came in the deeper cuts like “I Don’t Mind” and “Tell Me There’s a Garden”. Neither of these songs typically come out on a regular tour.
Watching the trio interact with each other was another perk of the stripped-down tour. The sisters build off of each other, engaging in smirks, and bursts of powerful harmonies. Natalie expressively charged the guitar at times, stomping a kick drum pedal, and building up the tension. Her vocals on “Blood & Tears” exemplified that energy, pulling people up for their seats in applause.
Meegan and Allison showcased a delicate approach to a newer song “Switch”, which was inspired by watching a lot of Love Island (Season 6 to be exact). The song dealt with waiting for love and that proverbial lever to be pulled where all your hopes and expectations with love are met. The bittersweet song definitely added a new level of emotion to the evening.
As children of the 90’s Joseph pulled out a clever cover with Amy Grant’s “Baby, Baby“. They followed with a personal thank you to The Current, and cleverly slipped in that you can listen to it on the radio. It was during “Honest” that you could hear some stronger influences in their sound. There’s a Lissie attitude that breaks out at times while keeping a Lucius strength of harmonies and timing.
In the last quarter of the set-list there was an expansion of emotion as well. As vocalists work, it felt like the longer they played, the more warmed up and dynamic their vocals got. This led to some spectacular performances of fan-favorite “White Flag” and “Fighter”. It also weighed on Natalie in dedicating “Room For You” to Julian by getting choked up starting the song.
It’s a mystery why artists don’t tear up more on stage with the amount of connection and meaning that sits in what they wrote. Sitting inside the packed Parkway, it was apparent the personal bonds that fans have with Joseph’s songs. Having a tour dedicated to playing those impactful songs inside intimate venues, are the moments that build that give back to fans.
Ending with “Sweet Dreams” left the venue fulfilled with a perfect custom playlist from Minnesota. It also made me look at my phone and count down the days where they’ll be performing at Blue Ox Music Festival, just 91 days away. See you there Joseph.