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  • Dawn Phillips

An Evening with Sir Sly and Joywave in Baltimore

Baltimore, Maryland - the city that never sleeps, literally! Walking in and out of Soundstage, saxophone’s echoed throughout the streets filling the streets with a calming energy; as the masses were out. Baltimore Soundstage located at the Inner Harbor is an industrial eclectic venue. Soundstage has a large stage with state of the art sound as well as lighting. They host nationally touring-artists, want to hear heavy-metal? Dub-step? Neo-soul? You name it Soundstage has it covered!

The stage is dark, is it time yet? I can’t see a thing, the crowd bursts out with cheering and applause; do they see something I don’t? Holy shit the roar from the crowd takes over echoing through the venue - its show time! Sci-Fi lighting hits the stage, front and center with that Steve Buscemi mustache and the oversized glasses, a 21st-century Freddie Mercury? A cooler, younger hip Weird Al Yankovic? Whatever it is Armbruster wears it well.

JOYWAVE is an American indie-rock band from Rochester, New York; all five members of the band grew up there, in fact. Playing in local bands together, Joywave was formed in 2010. In 2011, Joywave released their first mixtape 77777 and in 2012 they released their first EP Koda Vista. Front man/vocalist Armbruster was originally a member of Big Data, Armbruster wrote the song “Dangerous” recorded by Wilkis with Armbruster on vocals, credit went to Big Data featuring Joywave. “Dangerous," well, this song is amazing. The bass guitar, the random breaks, & the soothing ambiance give this song real character! Joywave’s notability rose with the release of their 2014 EP How Do You Feel? Two singles from the EP “Tongues” (which I knew I heard from somewhere, low and behold this song is featured on FIFA ’15) and “Somebody New” achieved popularity on radio as well as Youtube, with over 1.8 million views. This video is centered on skateboarding, Skate 3; it features scenes involving certain stunts and glitches with the skateboarders in the video~ it’s easy to see why this video had over 1.8 million views, the video is amazing.

Joywave opened two shows for The Killers in May of 2014; they also performed at Lollapalooza in Chicago and played Osheaga Festival in Montreal, as well as Leeds Festival in England. 2017 they toured across the United States with Young the Giant and Cold War Kids, and their Thanks for Coming Tour began in Las Vegas on Feb 10, 2018; touring over the summer with Thirty seconds to Mars, Walk the Moon and MisterWives.

The boys has been super busy thus far and it doesn’t appear that they’ll be slowing up anytime soon since their “An evening with Sir Sly” has started and they are co-headlining. Heads up for those Fortnite players, Season 5 - Joywave’s song “Blastoff” is the trailer song! Joywave is blasting off into stardom; if you haven’t been to a show don’t be left out.

The background of the stage is set up with huge amber lights that are dim, creating an ominous looking stage… Am I in an Alfred Hitchcock movie or have I entered the SLY-FI ZONE? The lighting was unique as well as poignant. Sir Sly hails from Los Angeles, CA a high energy indie rock band who gained notoriety and international fame after the Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag trailer was released which their song “Gold” was used.

“High” is an upbeat anthem, a declaration of a darker time, was it due to a lost love or was it the death of someone close? Either way Sir Sly’s album Don’t You Worry, Honey has an urgency to it, lyrically it’s in the moment, not just setting a “vibe” for the album, he’s painting a specific picture for each and every song.

Listening to “Change” is more on the R&B-Groove side an amazing song, Sir Sly sings of the past how he’s lonely, staring at a photograph of my one and only -- a young, dumb kid who fucked up, this song digs deep, we’ve all been there; losing a love that you took for granted grasping to try and get back what you once knew. Sir Sly bring the pains of his past into reality via lyrics, drawing you in closer to him, so you get to know him personally and fully. Sir Sly’s songs come first hand experiences which makes the album a fantastic work of art! It’s rare that an artist can draw the listener in on each and every song on an album; Sir Sly has done it with this one.

“Oh Mama” which is the last song; is a tear jerker! There’s a recording of Landon’s mom, she called and left him a message stating how she misses him terribly, hopefully he can call back and that she didn’t need anything; she just wanted to say hi! From the gist of this song, Landon lost his mom three years ago. Having this song as the last on the album was pure genius.

Donna Missal, who opened the show, has a smoky, swoony, timeless, passionate voice, she’s fiery and her music is heavy with themes of heartbreak, betrayal and deception, her tracks are laidback R&B groove. A Jersey native, Missal has breathtaking control of her voice and delivery, swinging between gentle licks and submerging belts. Her lyrics are catchy, instrumentation noteworthy and her stage presence is alluring, though Missal only has a few releases to her name, her artistry comes across within seconds of listening to her songs. “Keep Lying”, was recorded in 2015; it turned heads and shot up to #1 on Hype Machine and put her on the industries radar, it had over 1.5 million plays in streaming services.

Dropping several more digital singles that were embraced by listeners, which included “Sick” and “The Keeper” in 2016, Missal landed bookings at several major music festivals, to include Riot Fest and Bumbershoot. Missal continued to rise in 2017 when she released two more singles, “Holiday” and “Transformer”, Missal has RAW powerful talent; she delivers her songs with intense emotional urgency.


Sir Sly

Donna Missal


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