To kick off another year of music, The UC Theatre hosted the earsplitting Home Sick Festival on Jan. 18 with an eclectic, nine-band lineup. For the third year in a row, Anthony Anzaldo of Ceremony curated this underground Bay Area festival — this year, the multi-genre band from Rohnert Park, Calif., made the floor shake with two dates in Berkeley and Pomona.
The festival was headlined by Full of Hell, Ceremony, Drab Majesty and Joyce Manor — the heftiest band on the ticket. No matter the exhaustive start time for the final band, with doors opening at 5 p.m. and the festival going until midnight, Joyce Manor revived the tired crowd with its festival finale.
Coming on after Drab Majesty, a low-energy, alternative neo-goth act from Los Angeles, the band faced a mission to change the pace of the festival’s conclusion. To say the least, there were a lot of bands — the crowd lost momentum toward the end of the lineup, but once the four-piece band appeared onstage, all bets were off.
Joyce Manor, hailing from Torrance, Calif., is made up of lead vocalist/guitarist Barry Johnson, bassist/vocalist Matt Ebert, guitarist/backup vocalist Chase Knobbe and drummer Pat Ware. The band hasn’t come out with new music since 2018, but thanks to the quality of sound it has always put out, the act was timeless nonetheless.
Fans started the show flying over the barricade, intensely crowd-surfing and moshing, and didn’t cease until the end of the performance. Joyce Manor began with a bang, playing some of the band’s most popular songs, such as “Heart Tattoo” and “Falling in Love Again.”
Once the band got established onstage and fans seemed to recharge on adrenaline, the show whipped by fast with each two-minute burst of punk from Joyce Manor. “Midnight Service At The Mutter Museum” kept people on their toes, as the pace changed with every transition in the song. The crowd went from a slow clapping of hands above their heads to a raging sea of people being carried to the front on those same outstretched hands. Powerful backup vocals from Ebert and Knobbe spurred loud cheering before the song came to a close.
In true punk fashion, Johnson took the mic and said, “All right, what do you guys want to hear?” After requests for “House Warning Party,” a track off of a demo from 2009, punk-turned-the Smiths-esque vocals peppered the room and stayed with performances of “Derailed,” “Eighteen,” “Stairs” and “Last You Heard of Me.” The band covered all the bases with “Schley,” “Catalina Fight Song” and, of course, “Constant Headache,” but also spiced things up with “Big Lie” from Joyce Manor’s newest album, Million Dollars to Kill Me.
Even though the songs are consistently short, following the standard for the genre, each had an impactful place on the setlist. The band ended with spirited performances of “5 Beer Plan” and “Leather Jacket,” both from the band’s first full-length 2012 album, Collection. The vocal reverb was a bit cheesy in comparison to the previous DIY-sounding songs of the night, but it made for a solid outro effect for the night. On their way out, fans exclaimed their surprise at hearing “Leather Jacket” as the last song of the night, but if anything, it proved that Joyce Manor’s fans have been following the band for a while — and aren’t planning on leaving anytime soon.