Live Review: Joseph – Music Hall Of Williamsburg, Brooklyn NY

There’s an unbeatable, natural chemistry between members of a musical group if their DNA matches. A lot of current bands are comprised of musicians that are related, such as the sister singing trios of The Staves and HAIM. Recently, another group of sisters (Meegan Closner, Alison and Natalie Closner Schepman) climbed their way into the indie folk-pop spotlight as Joseph. The band passed through the Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn, New York earlier this month, and they aggressively electrified the audience with their powerhouse performance.

The opening act was a younger, up and coming acoustic folk band and they captivated the attention of the audience swiftly with their sharp togetherness and intimate vibe. Bailen is definitely a name to add to your watch list. Joseph then took to the stage with their first song All – a brand new track off their latest EP Stay Awake. The song proved to be a Joseph classic with powerful vocals and brilliant structure. Other highlights from the beginning of the set included a raging rendition of Canyon, hit single and Joseph signature song SOS and Wind.

One song that deserves special attention is I Don’t Mind. While Joseph are known for their upbeat, catchy anthems, they also provide a strong, profoundly intimate energy that is perfectly captured on this genius work. Meegan’s vivid lyrics and beautiful melody truly stole the show on this song and it’s one of the outstanding works in Joseph’s repertoire.
Another highlight of the night was the trio singing acoustic for their raw, stripped back demo 50, 60, 80, which gained intense intimacy from hushed, succinct harmonies.

Blood And Tears might be my favorite Joseph song and hearing it live was absolutely incredible. The simple yet genius pre-chorus “I will stay” showcases the songwriting expertise of the band and it’s one of many subtle yet highly powerful moments that occur during every song. It was surprising to hear the chorus of White Flag before the first verse of the song, which is an a cappella addition to their live act while performing this hit single. Changes like this keep the song that much more fresh, interesting and exciting and explains why Joseph’s music has successfully swayed a majority of indie folk listeners.

For the set closer the band performed their stellar version of The Rolling Stones song Moonlight Mile. Bailen came back on stage to help give the song even more rocking, positive energy that Joseph carried throughout their whole set. Sweet Dreams, track eleven off their latest full length record, was the encore and this quiet, softer song selection was a perfect choice because as the very last performance, it left listeners wanting to hear more of the louder upbeat Joseph songs. And that’s exactly the status of the magical music birthed by Joseph. It leaves us all craving more.

Scott J. Herman