Little Joy @ The Independent – 6/8
As an Austin Town Hall adventure, this was our first team outing to the new venue in town, The Independent. They’ve been working with C3, and fortunately for all of us, they’ve lined up some really great shows. We were stoked to see Little Joy, though a bit saddened that Fab would not be in attendance. Follow the jump to continue reading.
First, let me begin with a little commentary on The Independent. The space is great, and it’s perfect for a medium sized venue. Sound quality was lacking during the opening act, but that is to be expected; this was certainly not an issue for the headliner, but more on that later. Here are some things the venue needs to work on in order to become one of the new spots to be at in our local music scene. First, the bar needs to be much better. For starters, it blocks the path to the bathrooms, and when there was a line, it was impassable. Not to mention that the venue ran out of beer! Cardinal sin my friends, but they went on a run, and got us more. Second, and possibly a more minor detail, is that the venue lacks a proper place to hang. The great venues, like Emos or Mohawk, have places to hang where you can smoke with your beer in your hand while listening to the tunes; The Independent did not, so you had to leave booze unattended if you wanted to venture out for a cigarette. These things can be worked on in the future, but just so you know.
Now, opener Leatherbag hails from Austin, and you could definitely tell that they wore the crown of Southern blues-influenced rock, although the singer had an Elvis Costello meets Jakob Dylan sort of thing going. He gave a passionate performance, though poor sound quality rendered the rest of his band useless. At one point you could clearly only hear one guitar, and the drums were just a faint echo in the room that was yet to fill to capacity.
Once Little Joy took to the stage, the night belonged to the band. Lead singer, Rodrgio Armarante, came out by himself to begin the set, singing “Evaporar” in Portuguese. This began the night’s inclusion of tropicalia with an intimate moment between singer and audience. But, he was not alone for long as the rest of his band came down the stairs from the green room to join him, well, at least three other members came down at this time. Once they plugged in, the band jumped right into “Play the Part”, one of the more mellow numbers on the band’s self-titled debut.
Out came the rest of the band. From here on out, the band would win over the entire audience with their beach-driven pop. It seemed that every number the band played only pushed the audience into more of a frenzy, as we all knew the words to every song. Jamming songs like “Keep Me in Mind” encouraged audience members to move their feet in the way of the coy Austin hipster. Interestingly, the band did a perfect job charming the audience. They provided moments of semi-witty banter, though we should probably assume this was meant to prolong the set (which the band later admitted to) as their album is quite short itself.
Everything about the evening was precisely what one could hope for, as the band seemed warm and extremely gracious to the audience for all their support. They even threw in a cover of the Mamas and the Papas “Midnight Voyage” done Little Joy style for everyone to enjoy. It was a great evening, and a good start to one of Austin’s new music venues.