Mt. Joy play two jubilant nights at The Mann - WXPN | Vinyl At Heart
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Mt. Joy returned home to Philadelphia for two glorious nights of music and community building this past Saturday and Sunday evenings at The Skyline Stage at The Mann. With a sell-out on Saturday and a near sell-out on Sunday, the band – fronted by lead singer and guitarist Matt Quinn – and including guitarist Sam Cooper, keyboardist Jackie Miclau and rhythm section of Sotiris Eliopoulos (drums), and Michael Byrnes (bass), played two joyous sets each night.

When the band first debuted in 2016 with the song “Astrovan,” followed by several singles in 2017 including fan favorite “Silver Lining,” they were pegged as newcomers to the indie-folk scene. Make no mistake about it: while some of their songs start off with the sound of an acoustic guitar, gentle melodies, and sparse yet well crafted arrangements, their live shows have evolved into full on cathartic rock and roll experiences, and the Philly shows checked a lot of boxes to this end. No genre mistake now – Mt. Joy are a full on rock and roll band.

The set lists were equally weighted with songs that have become standouts from the band’s three studio albums including the aforementioned “Astrovan,” and “Silver Lining,” and “Jenny Jenkins,” “Rearrange Us,” “Strangers,” and the stomping “Evergreen.” Pretty much every song played over the two nights were great big sing-alongs, especially “The Johnson Song,” “Lemon Tree,” and their cover of The Band’s “The Weight,” which Matt dedicated to Robbie Robertson, guitarist and songwriter from The Band who passed away a few days before their Philly shows.

Their light show was powered by psychedelic visuals that at times looked like mashups of Peter Max and Bob Ross paintings, Sixties psychedelic black light posters with floating planets, and hyper-colorful scenes from Teletubbies. The visuals heightened the emotional weight of the songs, spurred by Cooper’s solos that build the energy of many songs, and Miclau’s standout keyboard playing – both the undertone washes her playing brings to the songs with added depth, and her outstanding solos.

Mt. Joy are very deft at weaving snippets of songs by other musicians into the live arrangements of their own material. Such was the case both nights when they took “Bug Eyes” into “Where Is My Mind” by Pixies, worked “Old Town Road” by Lil Nas X and a small amount of “Bathtub Gin” by Phish into the end of “Let Loose.” Playing “Julia” both nights they stitched it together with Drake’s “One Dance,”(!!) on Saturday, and on Sunday they turned up the heat, going into “Ain’t No Sunshine” by Bill Withers and adding “Crazy” by Gnarls Barkley to the end, building the song into an emotional crescendo. A bit of “Oh! Sweet Nuthin'” by Velvet Underground was added to the end of “Ruin,” on Saturday.

Used judiciously, this is a performance device that works in their favor, signaling both the band’s diverse musical interests as music fans themselves, and as players who meld together with confidence and are able to work these bite sized snacks into the set list.They also turned out regular sized covers of “Fire On The Mountain,” by the Grateful Dead, and “Cissy Strut,” by the Meters.

On both nights the band invited up to the stage local Philadelphia singer-songwriter Julia Pratt to sing Julia’s new song, “A Little Love,” a hypnotic, enchanting song that she collaborated with Matt Quinn on. At both shows, singing with just her electric guitar and Matt singing duet harmonies, a beautiful vibe of intimacy swept across the thousands in front of the stage. For each performance it was a moving, high emotion moment with Julia’s soaring vocal performance and the simple, yet super catchy chorus and Matt’s matching harmonies. Julia plays the WXPN XPoNential Music Festival in Fall where fans will get to see her perform a set with her full band.

While Mt. Joy brought fans together to share in the joy of music, they also used it to bring awareness to three community groups, local charities doing great work in Philly. Both nights Sharing Excess were on hand at The Mann doing a non-perishable food item drive at the gates. They are a Philadelphia-based nonprofit that uses surplus food as a solution to scarcity. On Saturday night they partnered with Connor Barwin’s Make The World Better Foundation, who raise money to invest in public space revitalization projects. On Sunday, Mt. Joy partnered with Jason Kelce’s (Be)Philly Foundation. The foundation provides financial support and increased visibility to charitable organizations with a proven track record of improving the education and economic outcomes of students in Philadelphia public schools.

Both nights, Quinn and Cooper donned new Eagles kelly green jerseys to play. But the player who showed up that got the crowd going crazy was Eagles center Jason Kelce himself. When Matt introduced him, the crowd went crazy. He spoke about his foundation, then lead the 6000+ crowd into a rousing round of “Fly Eagles Fly” and proceeded to stay on stage to cheer the crowd and the band on during the final song of the band’s two night stand, “Silver Lining.” With that, fans walked out, smiles ear to ear, fill with the joy they came to see.

Setlist
Aug
12
Mt. Joy
The Skyline Stage at The Mann
  • Lemon Tree
  • Jenny Jenkins
  • Strangers
  • Evergreen
  • Sheep
  • Dirty Love
  • Ruins (with "Oh! Sweet Nuthin'" by the Velvet Undergound snippet)
  • Bigfoot
  • Bug Eyes (with "Where Is My Mind" by Pixies snippet)
  • A Little Love w/ Julia Pratt and Matt
  • St. George
  • I'm Your Wreck
  • Rearrange Us
  • Let Loose (with a bit of "Fly Eagles Fly")
  • Orange Blood
  • Johnson Song
  • Mt. Joy
  • Fire On The Mountain (Grateful Dead cover)
  • Younger Days
  • Bathroom Light
  • Julia (with "One Dance" by Drake snippet)
  • Silver Lining
  • Encore: Cardinal
  • Encore: Astrovan
Setlist
Aug
13
Mt. Joy
The Skyline Stage at The Mann
  • I'm Your Wreck
  • Rearrange Us
  • Jenny Jenkins
  • Sheep
  • Evergreen
  • Phenomenon
  • Cardinal
  • Death
  • Orange Blood
  • A Little Love w/ Julia Pratt and Matt
  • The Weight (The Band cover)
  • Lemon Tree
  • Strangers
  • Let Loose (with "Old Town Road" by Lil Nas X and "Bathtub Gin" by Phish snippet)
  • Johnson Song
  • Bigfoot
  • Dirty Love
  • Mt. Joy (with "Ivy" by Frank Ocean snippet)
  • Cissy Strut (The Meters cover)
  • Bug Eyes (with "Where Is My Mind" by Pixies snippet)
  • Julia (w/ snippets of "Ain't No Sunshine" by Bill Withers and "Crazy" by Gnarls Barkley
  • Astrovan
  • Encore: Bathroom Light
  • Encore: Fly Eagles Fly w/ Jason Kelce
  • Encore: Silver Lining
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