It takes until around five songs in for frontman Barry Johnson to address the seeming reluctance, demanding to know why he remembers so many people stage diving during their previous visit yet nobody has ventured onto the stage as yet. This invitation is all the crowd need and as the band barrel into ‘Ashtray Petting Zoo’, members of the audience barrel onto the stage (and off again), and the anarchy doesn’t let up for the rest of the evening.
While the set leans most heavily on the band’s first two albums (with five tracks being played from each), each record is represented in some way and the frantic nature of their snapshot punk anthems means that they are able to cover a huge amount of ground across the performance and the overall impact is a reminder of just how versatile their sound has become over the course of their career. At the midpoint of the set, they even offer up a Murder City Devils cover (‘Midnight Service At The Mutter Museum’) to vary things further.
The final five songs, taking in tracks like ‘Christmas Card’, ‘Constant Headache’ and ‘Catalina Fight Song’ highlight just how many anthems the band now have within their catalogue. For a band who often swerve the encore, it’s surprising to see them re-emerge after a short break. There is then a longer break as the band discuss what should and shouldn’t be played, before Johnson makes the executive decision to hurtle into a breakneck version of ‘Five Beer Plan’ and leave it at that. Tonight is testament to just what Joyce Manor continue to achieve and, although tonight’s show sold out in double-quick time, it continues to confuse that more people don’t give the band the credit that they undoubtedly deserve; perhaps the brevity of their songs works against them, but it’s about time Joyce Manor were recognised for the anthems they continue to amass.