Casey Nugent ’17/ Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
If your idea of a good Sunday night is moshing in a group of sweaty twenty-something punk rockers, then Boston’s Royale Theater was the place to be on September twentieth. Torrance, California, natives Joyce Manor took the stage to play an electric set of short, fast punk that sent the crowd flying against the walls and helped cap off the summer concert season.
New Hampshire natives Traces opened the show with a four-song set, which mostly fell flat in the crowd. Traces produces the type of music that plays in the background of road-trip montages in movies—feel-good music without much substance behind it. That being said, this tour with Joyce Manor is their first tour ever, and there’s absolutely room for them to grow and mature their sound.
After Traces, Cheap Girls took the stage. The Lansing, Michigan, band are no strangers to opening for big punk groups, having previously toured with The Hold Steady and Against Me, as well as accompanying Joyce Manor on their recent European tour. Cheap Girls had a much more mature sound than Traces, and the content of their lyrics fit well with Joyce Manor’s established fan base. Songs about loving girls, cigarettes, and loving girls who smoked cigarettes helped amp up the crowd before the openers stepped out.
When Joyce Manor came on, the crowd went wild. Joyce Manor is a well-established pop-punk act, and when they burst into the opening riffs of “Heart Tattoo,” everyone in the theater exploded into a frenzy of flying limbs. The high energy of the crowd carried the show through quickly and it was obvious everyone in the Royale was having the best night of their summer. Lead singer Barry Johnson took breaks between songs to riff on how much he hated Panera Bread, while bassist Matt Ebert took a moment out of the encore to wish a fan a happy birthday. Overall, it felt like an intimate set, despite the fact the Royale was crammed with people.
Highlights of the set included “Constant Headache,” when the crowd surfing began, and the encore rendition of “Catalina Fight Song,” which immediately revved the crowd back up. The moment the show went from good to great, however, was when Joyce Manor played “End of the Summer” from their third album Never Hungover Again. It was an appropriate choice for the last hot night of summer, and the crowd caterwauled with Johnson crooning he “could show you, at the end of the summer.”
Joyce Manor is a fun band, and their songs are short enough so fans who aren’t into mosh pits can catch breaks to head to the bar for another drink. The Royale was the perfect fit for them; small enough to feel like a private set, but large enough to hold the amped-up fans that poured in to see them. For Boston pop-punk fans, Joyce Manor is absolutely a band to check out the next time they come to town.