After what was surely one of the hottest days in the city’s history, frazzled Sydney-siders emerged from the 40 degree heatwave to see electro-pop wonder JOY. at GOODGOD Small Club on Friday night.
South coast local Joe Mungovan kicked off the night with his own brand of indie folk. Plucking songs from his debut EP June & July and his forthcoming EP, Mungovan’s short set was driven entirely by crooning vocals and acoustic jams.
While tracks such as The Thunder and Face in the Crowd were standouts, an indie folk spin on MGMT’s smash hit Electric Feel was an undeniable highlight. Rocking an unbeatable combination of a man bun and serenading vocals, Mungovan found himself on the receiving end of some marriage proposals from rowdier crowd members by the time to set came to a close.
Next up was Owen Rabbit. A multi-instrumentalist and producer from Melbourne, Rabbit was nothing short of weird and wonderful. In between recording and playing back the crowd’s ill-pitched harmonies, sampling everything from the crack of a Coopers Lager can to a toy raygun and purposely coughing into the microphone, Rabbit harnessed his awkward charm to interact with the audience. Transcending from whiney vocals to a scratching screech layered over the top of textured beats, the result was a unique fusion of electro indie.
As more people began to fill the room, so did a buzzing anticipation and the return of stifling heat. By the time 18-year-old Olivia McCarthy (better known by her stage and middle name JOY.) hit the stage, GOODGOD was packed from wall to wall.
Resembling a young Courtney Love as she rocked her signature platinum blonde locks and ruby red lips, JOY. dove into the set with Crazy For You, her breathy vocals struggling to stand its ground against overwhelming bass at first.
As the gig progressed though, JOY.’s effortlessly cool aura was more than enough to ensnare the crowd. Her on-stage sullen persona wavered only a few times – including as she gazed out at the packed club with a modest grin and reminisced that the first time she played at the venue in 2014 “there were two people here and one was my mum”.
The Brissie beatsmith rolled through a mixed bag set of her two EPs Stone and Ode. The crowd lapped up the live rendition of her debut single Captured and the haunting vocals that snake through Falling showcased JOY.’s dual knack for producing and performing.
The songstress’ eclectic musical interests even came out to play when she and the band decided to experiment with some reggae sounds half way through the set. Closing with About Us, an absolute banger of ethereal vocals and lush beats, JOY. was the refreshingly cool electro-pop Sydney needed after a blistering summer day.
Gallery: JOY. – Goodgod Small Club, Sydney 20/11/15 / Photos: Ashley Mar