Mt. Joy fills College Street Music Hall with joy

Emma Dinnan

Flannels, campfires, hiking, these are all things that embody what I like to call: granola music. Songs like “Stick Season” by Noah Kahn and “Nellie” by Dr. Dog. This genre of folk-rock mixed with acoustic ballads and psychedelic sounds is portrayed most perfectly by the band Mt. Joy. 

After attending high school together in Philadelphia, Matt Quinn and Sam Cooper reunited in Los Angeles, forming the origins of the band. Named after a mountain in Valley Forge National Park, Mt. Joy released their first single in 2016, “Astrovan”. With the success of this single three more band members were added, bassist Michael Byrnes, drummer Sotiris Eliopoulos and keyboardist Jackie Miclau.

 In 2018, the band released their debut self-titled album and proceeded to headline their first North American and European tour. In 2019 the band released their second album “Rearrange Us” and after touring with Rainbow Kitten Surprise headlined yet another tour of their own. In 2020 the band was set to tour with the popular group, The Lummineers, but due to COVID-19, the tour was cut short.

In June, Mt. Joy released their third full-length studio album, “Orange Blood.” With this, the start of their third tour began. On Monday, Oct. 24, I witnessed this incredible show live at College Street Music Hall in New Haven, Connecticut. 

The energy from the start was great. The almost sold-out show was filled with fans eager to see the band’s first tour since the pandemic. The vibe of the crowd only got better with the opener, The Brook & The Bluff. This small folk-rock band pulled out all the plugs for this show. Their set, although short, was filled with fun. Between their vibey music and groovy dance moves the atmosphere was filled with joy. They were a hit. Everyone in attendance, including myself, was surprised with how good they were. Openers often receive a bad rep, but even days after the concert I found myself listening to their Spotify. 

Next came what we were all waiting for, Mt. Joy themselves. The band started off strong with one of their most popular songs, “Strangers.” As the piano began and the other instruments followed suit, the crowd went wild. It only went up from there. The show was filled with high-energy songs that got the audience to sing along and ballads that showed the talents of lead singer Quinn. 

By far, my favorite part of the show was the instrumental solos. Going into this show being decently well-versed in Mt. Joy’s music I was expecting much more vocals, however the instruments were what stole the show. Between Eliopoulos’s impressively long drum solo and Cooper’s incredible shredding on the guitar, the band’s skill truly shone through. But, the best part of it all was Miclau on the piano. She is a superstar. From elongated song intros to her very own solo song, Miclau took over the spotlight. 

My personal favorite song was “Julia”. The band began with this popular hit and decided to change it up after the first verse and chorus. They took similar chord progressions and flowed into Bill Whither’s “Ain’t No Sunshine”, and then to “Crazy” by Gnarls Barkley. After this diversion, they then proceeded to come back and finish “Julia.” This mashup not only got the crowd overexcited but was able to showcase the talents of each individual bandmate.

College Street Music hall provides an excellent space for bands such as Mt. Joy. They allow people to be close to one another and enjoy all of the magic that is bonding with others at a concert. This being my first concert sitting in the balcony I was able to witness the crowd below and see the joy in people’s eyes as music brought them together. The view from the balcony offers a special eye to the show as one can still clearly see the show, yet also see the crowd around them and appreciate the space.

Ultimately, this concert reminded me of everything I love about live music. That is, for the most part, the people around me. What I like most about this specific genre is the diversity in the crowd. In front of me sat a group of boys fresh out of college that were reminiscing on the songs they loved and screaming the words to their favorites. Next to me were two grown men leaning on each other arm in arm also belting out the words to every song. Below them sat a group of girls around my age who were filled with so much joy, they would jump around when the songs they knew best came on, even running to the edge of the balcony at one point to take in the full experience of the show.

Being able to witness the beauty that is music live is an incredible gift. Mt. Joy was everything they’re made out to be and more. This show is unforgettable and the energy of the crowd is something I have never had the chance to experience before. I can say with confidence, I will be attending more folk-rock concerts in the very near future.