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Ascending Mt. Joy

Benjamin Lederer

Benjamin Lederer

Concert Reviewer and Events Volunteer at Portland Radio Project
Benjamin Lederer

Latest posts by Benjamin Lederer (see all)

Mt. Joy, an up-and-coming Philadelphia-based alternative group, appeared on Discover Weekly playlists last year and again a few months ago with the release of their first full-length album. The record could be the best of 2018, but there’s plenty of game left to play. Regardless, when the band announced their April 6 show at the Doug Fir Lounge, I was all in.

The Friday night show sold out earlier in the week. After a short wait, I got my Rainier and posted up in the main floor. Mt. Joy took stage to a generous applause. Singer and guitar player Matt Quinn began strumming his acoustic guitar for the song, “I’m Your Wreck.”

Quinn’s vocal range and witty lyrics are just a couple of Mt. Joy’s strong points. One line that stuck out in this song was, “Cuz in the daylight, there are monsters in my closet using up the wifi.” Watch out for those smart-phone addicted monsters.

After the first jam, the band hardly paused. Quinn switched to electric guitar and addressed us all, “Hey Portland, let’s have some fun tonight.” They jumped into an eerie song called, “Bigfoot.” Sam Cooper’s guitar riffs gave this song it’s ghostly, yet playful nature. The song’s chorus struck a chord for the Oregonians, “Bigfoot is out there!” Oh, we  know he is.

Another crowd favorite was the band’s hit song, “Sheep.” If you haven’t seen the music video for this song, I highly recommend it. The band said themselves in the YouTube comments that “the message of this video is that love can overcome the frustration here in America.”

The band took their first break, and Quinn addressed the crowd saying, “This is our first time in Portland as a band… But Jackie is from Portland.” Jackie Miclau, the energetic keys player and harmonizer, waved to us in the crowd. Then Quinn, told us the next song, “is why we’re here.” The band then played “Astrovan”—a music-streaming hit that largely put this band on the map back in 2017.

The following song, Miclau played five chords and most of the crowd knew what was coming. “Jenny Jenkins” is a fun song with drummer Sotiris Eliopoulos continuously punching the bass drum to maintain this song’s energy. The crowd cheered this ballad on and sang along with Quinn.

Quinn eventually took another break and said, “Alright we’ve got one more song for you tonight.” I figured he was lying but forgave him anyway. He began playing, “Silver Lining”—Mt. Joy’s most popular song. Cooper sang with the rest of the band while improvising a bit at lead guitar. For the chorus, the band members all sang along (and I did too):

“But if it’s the drugs, the women, the wine, the weed/
The love that took everything I own/
Just take it all.”

The tune was lively and it was one of those moments that sent chills down your spine, reminding you why you come see these bands live. Because it makes you feel more alive.

This rising band is not one to miss, and if you haven’t heard of Mt. Joy, check them out. Something tells me this is just the beginning for this band. Plus, you know you’ll want to be able to say you heard them before they were mainstream.

 

 

 

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