Joyce Manor, The Hotelier & Crying played MHOW (pics, review)
Possibly the most stacked triple-billed rock tour of 2016, Joyce Manor, The Hotelier and Crying, hit NYC's Music Hall of Williamsburg last night (10/18) for a show that (not surprisingly) sold out long ago. All three bands were supporting new albums, Cody, Goodness, and Beyond the Fleeting Gales, respectively. I feel pretty confident saying that the first two are among the very best albums of the year, and that Crying's LP sounds like no other record released in 2016.
I'm not as crazy about Crying's early chiptune material, which made up about half of their set last night, but the stuff off Beyond the Fleeting Gales sounded awesome. It's an indie pop album that has no shame in using shred solos, pinch harmonics, palm muted power chords, and Rush/Van Halen-style synths, all things that are historically uncool in the indie pop realm. And Crying really make it work. When they let Ryan Galloway take it away with a solo, it's truly impressive, but he's not flashy like Eddie Van Halen or anything. His stage presence has him looking more like a shoegazer. Crying's secret weapon, though, is drummer Nick Corbo, who's on tour with LVL UP and had to sit out this Crying tour. They had TJ from Nine of Swords filling in, who kinda added his own flair and had no trouble keeping the songs' complexities intact. This hometown show for Crying also had a nice treat. Vagabon singer Laetitia Tamko came out for her guest vocal on "There Was A Door." (Speaking of, you can catch Vagabon opening for Frankie Cosmos and Big Thief at Webster Hall in November.)
The Hotelier's set was a pretty even split between the new album and 2014's Home, Like Noplace Is There, and we got pretty much all the major fan favorites. The new album is a better studio work than the last, but the HLNIT songs are still the ones that get the crowds going craziest. The Hotelier opened up with that album's one-two punch of "An Introduction To The Album" and "The Scope Of All Of This Rebuilding," which they don't do every time, but the times I've seen them do it that way are always their best sets. Still, the "MAKE ME FEEL ALIVE" moment of "Soft Animal" is turning into the cathartic peak of their sets.
With such a solid lineup of bands, you may have felt like there wasn't a true headliner, but those feelings likely subsided the minute Joyce Manor took the stage. This was clearly their crowd, and -- except for the moment when some jerk threw a folding chair off the balcony (which caused the band to stop their set to have the guy kicked out, and caused the venue manager to interrupt the show too) -- it was one of the best crowds I've seen for them. It took half a second of set opener "Heart Tattoo" for the whole place to be bouncing around, raising fists, and yelling along, and that didn't stop once during the set. Whether JM were playing stuff off their new (fourth) album or their first EP, every person was going nuts. It also may have been the best I've ever seen this band play. They always put on good shows, but they somehow just seemed tighter, fuller, louder, and more confident than ever before. Talking about the album, I suggested they're such an ideal rock band because they have pop punk's energy but none of its radio-ready shine, and indie rock's nuances without its self-consciousness. Live, this is even more true. They're a band that record collectors can nerd out over, but their show never holds back from giving you the rush of a real rock band.
Seeing the band have such command over a big sold-out crowd like this is even more rewarding when you remember how ground-up they are. Like he's done at other NYC shows, Barry asked the crowd who saw their first NYC show at (the now-defunct DIY space) Party Expo in 2011. After crowd cheers, he said, "Okay I just heard about 13 people cheer and that show had like seven people at it, so at least half of you are full of shit." A lot has happened for this band in the five years since that show. They've reached a ton of different types of fans and progressed their music in exciting ways, but they're still punks at heart. And they do things that only punk bands do, like still play a song that only appeared on an early demo ("Housewarming Party"). Not to get all wistful for punk's past, but it's exciting to still see bands come up that way and get (mostly young) crowds in a frenzy.
Catch Crying again at their label Run For Cover's one-day fest at Webster Hall in December. Catch The Hotelier opening one of Thursday's NJ reunion shows that same month. Pictures of the MHOW show are in the gallery above.
photos by Stephanie Augello