Saturday night brought a little East & West coast flavor to the Varsity Theater in Dinkytown, as Joywave (New York) and Sir Sly (California) came to town for a sold-out show that was aptly named, Joywave And Sir Sly Present: An Evening With Sir Sly and Joywave. Mixing in a little local flavor was Minneapolis-native John Chuck & The Class, all of which created a lineup that appealed to some of everyone’s tastes.
Kicking off at 8:00 PM, John Chuck & The Class took the stage and immediately energized the entire building. Bringing in a sort of soulful fusion of rap & alternative music, their unique sound complimented the sound of the headliners very well, and the crowd thoroughly enjoyed it.
Highlights of the set included performances of their song “Cannonball” which was released on Friday afternoon, as well as their biggest hit “Business as Usual” which has racked up over 360,000 plays on Spotify. While it was nice to see John Chuck & The Class get the party started, it was clear they will be playing the headlining role at venues such as The Varsity very, very soon.
Up next was California-natives Sir Sly, who is still out on the road promoting their 2017 album Don’t You Worry, Honey. If the theme of the evening was energy, Sir Sly’s frontman Landon Jacobs made it his mission to continue it. Bouncing around the stage from the very first note, the passion that Jacobs, as well as instrumentalists Jason Suwito and Hayden Coplen, have for their craft was clear immediately.
With an impressive “industrial” stage set up, the energy of the music, as well as the lighting, increased with each passing song. About halfway through the set, Jacobs addressed the crowd in what he called a “heart to heart.” He talked about going through a divorce, his mother losing her battle with brain cancer, and the lows that bandmates Suwito & Coplen pulled him out of using music.
Jacobs dedicated their next song, “Oh Mama” to his mother, and encouraged everyone in the crowd to power through their darkest moments and to never lose hope. Then, after praising Minneapolis’s continued support of their band, and reminiscing on a time they played 7th St Entry to “about fifteen people!” they wrapped up their set with performances of their two most acclaimed songs, “High” and “&run“.
Next up was New Yorker’s Joywave, and they brought with them an equally impressive stage setup as tourmates Sir Sly. With flashing lights, giant “cue card” light boxes, and spotlights galore, it was as equally visually appealing as it was sonically.
Frontman Daniel Armbruster commanded the crowd with ease and possesses this amazing ability to make even the people in the very back of the room feel like the performance is just for them. The performance also included a setlist that was absolutely masterfully crafted, riding the waves of energy pulsating from the crowd effortlessly.
Towards the end of the set, during a performance of their smash-hit “Tongues“, the crowd reached an unprecedented level of excitement, and I feared they might actually blow the roof off of my favorite venue in the Twin Cities.
Nonetheless, the venue survived, and after performing their closing song “Destruction” the crowd dispersed onto the brisk streets of Dinkytown. All in all, it was an absolutely wonderful night of music, lights, and ambiance. Keep an eye out for the next time any of these three bands are performing in the area, its a performance you’re not going to want to miss.