iSPY something to do in Washtenaw County
July 23, 2011 9:19 pm

Junior Boys Shake Things Up in Pontiac


photo by Kristin Slater

Junior Boys shake up the crowd during an impressive set in Pontiac

By Paul Kitti

I’m having to take a break from my Junior Boys video-browsing session on YouTube to write this review of their set in Pontiac last Saturday night. There’s an addictive quality to their music, behind Jeremy Greenspan’s suave and darkly gentle vocals and the dreamy electro-pop instrumentation, and I have yet to hear a track that doesn’t demonstrate creative mixing, well-crafted structures and slick melodies that linger on after the song’s end.

photo by Kristin Slater

So, how is their music live? Amazingly, there is very little difference in quality between their recordings and their live performance – which is tough for a style that employs several layers of electronic and traditional instrumentation. The Pike Room, which is on the second floor of The Crofoot, proved to be a pretty tight space for the large number of fans that came out to welcome these dance-pop wizards from Hamilton, Ontario. However, I think smaller venues and closer crowds make for a better concert experience, and my only initial complaint was the lighting.

The Junior Boys played the first song of their set in an atmosphere of darkness and scattered rays of pale, white light. The energy of the music itself countered the boring atmosphere until the second song, where the bright lights came on and the crowd decided it was time to start dancing.

Jeremy Greenspan and multi-instrumentalist Matt Didemus, who were accompanied by a stand-in drummer, had enough equipment to challenge the stage space. With his khaki pants and collared button-up shirt, Greenspan looked more like a business associate about to attend a conference or meeting than a chart-topping conductor of electronic musical bliss about to wow an audience. But, once he started pushing out the words to the first song, there was no question that he was there to let loose and have a good time. He was an affable front man with a cool, conversational tone and relaxed demeanor, which encouraged more vocal audience involvement.

photo by Kristin Slater

As the set went on, the environment in the Pike Room turned into something that was peaceful, yet energetic, fast-paced, yet comfortable. Audience members were just as into the music as were the guys creating it, and I almost felt bad for the people who opted to go to the club next door instead that night and missed out on what, I believe, was the superior dance party.

To check out iSPY’s interview with Jeremy Greenspan, click here.

To see more photos from the show, click here.

Sonic Lunch Presented by Bank of Ann Arbor

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