review by: Josh Stewart
Junip slowly cut right into their lush orchestral sound. A six-piece set in total, all men. At any given point during the set there were two if not three dudes playing synth or keys. Aside from the accomplished frontman Jose Gonzalez the second coolest member of the band was a seated synth player with slicked back hair and a killer snarl. The third coolest member of the band was clearly the giant, endearing (and haunting) photo of a fawn framed behind the band for the entire set.
The crowd was very late 20s. Enough to have experienced life (just) enough to appreciate the heady lyrics.
“So Clear” was a great song for the band to get into early on in the set, as the keyboards built up, and up, and up. All the while Gonzalez’s alto vocals cut through the mix, leaving no doubt that despite the exciting build, the message of his songs were somber and existential. This was the theme established throughout the rest of the evening as Junip echoed Gonzalez’s surreal voice with their six piece synth orchestra.
The walking bass line of “Suddenly” captivated the audience. Cutting through the noise, the dulcet tones singer of Gonzalez soothed the crowd into hipster nods. The way the band layered the synth with messy but timely drums was reminiscent of the echoes of a Pink Floyd live set, while the guitar work and songwriting had the sensibilities of Simon & Garfunkel.
“Your Life Your Call” in all its eeriness, was one of the best tracks of the night. Junip’s honed and effectively layered keyboard set made it irrelevant whether it was two dudes or 10. Each member of the crowd was swept in the texture of the song, meanwhile Gonzalez’s haunting refrain “Pull yourself together, and draw the line. Pull yourself together, can’t stand to see you cry” is perhaps the saddest thing I have ever heard several hundred people sing in unison.
Once it reached the time of evening when the alcohol began to take hold of the crowd, someone screamed “Jose!!” loudly, right as the bands syncopated rhythms built up with the lights into a green blaze, engulfing the Bambi backdrop green disco light.
“Walking Lightly” was another highlight, as was “Villian” with it’s two minute bass-thumping riffs, made for a nice reprieve from the droning, mellow compositions throughout the night. Junip closed the show with their semi-hit and anthemic “Line Of Fire”. Building up and up and up and up…
The band’s self-titled second album is out now.