Concert Review: joan @ Union Stage (2/26/19)

Alan Thomas and Steven Rutherford are joan (Photo from FB @songsbyjoan)

Wow, you really need to give the Arkansas indie pop band joan a listen!

The Union Stage crowd had the pleasure of joan’s epically catchy pop songs on February 26th, as they opened for The Aces. They weren’t gone from DC long, as they played a show at DC9 back in January.

Union Stage was near capacity by the time they started their set, and anyone that didn’t know about joan before this night, walked away happy that they arrived early enough to give them a chance.

A collective satisfied ‘ooohhh’ wafted from the crowd as they kicked off their set with the dance-worthy “Take Me On” from their debut EP titled portra.

Next came “Tokyo”, a slinky, what dreams may come song of new love. At this point, anyone merely listening idly at Union Stage got on board with their buoyant brand of pop music. Presumably, since all I could see were the smiles.

joan is Alan Thomas (guitar, vocals) and Steven Rutherford (drums) from Little Rock, Arkansas. They started as joan in 2017, writing great music together to release their EP in mid-2018. They’ve also put out a few new songs recently, so trust a full album could be imminent.

The duo came out on the spare stage in hoodies (it was a bit cold out after all), and Steven’s was a loud yellow that contrasted nicely with the bright blues and purples of the pulsing lights. Throughout the show, a lonely keyboard center stage emitted its steady stream of feel good electronic beats, complementing Alan’s guitar and Steven’s drums.

Later came “Drive All Night”, their latest single, and not on the EP. The track is dreamy in the subtle way that reminds one of Owl City.

“Ease Your Mind” was another new song, where the upbeat sound and the seemingly reasonable promises to an ex mask the despair of loss. Near the end of their time with us they performed “Love Somebody Like You”, which speaks to hope when seeking love, set amid the glittering lights and dancing bodies.

joan ended their 9-song set with “I Loved You First”, a slow jam giving us the plaintive pleas of Alan belting the sad lyrics like the world would end if his message didn’t get through. The world didn’t end, so there is still time to make a beeline to a place that you can happily buy a copy of portra.

Here’s to joan making it back to DC soon. The word is out, now you know. You have permission to love somebody like them.

Take Me On
Stop and Stare
Drive All Night
Ease Your Mind
All The Way
Love Somebody Like You
I Loved You First

Author: Jeremy Bailey

Writer and editor living in Washington, D.C.

6 thoughts on “Concert Review: joan @ Union Stage (2/26/19)”

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