As we get ready for festival season, concert-goers tend to forget about the shows that are already happening in their own backyard. Living in Los Angeles means you’re guaranteed almost every artist or group coming to town. Junior Boys haven’t stepped foot in L.A. since 2011 in support of their last album It’s All True. On a weeknight in the middle of downtown, you would be hard-pressed to believe that.
It’s 8 p.m.
By the grace of some god, I’ve been granted parking only a block away. We (Kevin and I) made our way to The Regent, an old grindhouse and adult video theatre turned music venue in the heart of L.A.’s Financial District. Past the upscale restaurants, empty gallery spaces, and newly built apartments, we managed to get to will-call. Early arrival meant having no problem grabbing our tickets and pre-gaming.
I checked my watch before we floated back to the venue. Below the stage was a table filled with patches and custom synth pads. Borys took the microphone and welcomed us to the night. His set was filled with a darkness, pitched and reverberated vocals alongside new wave beats that I couldn’t ignore. Here’s a guy who not only knows how to exactly bring his sounds together but also with precision. It’s no wonder Jesse of Junior Boys took him on tour and worked alongside with him on solo projects.
The energy in the room was starting to rise as those in attendance were filling up the floor and bars inside. I was quite excited, as one of my most favorite artists was only just few moments from hitting the stage. Her name? Jessy Lanza. A young female producer/vocalist from Ontario, Canada who released her debut album Pull My Hair Back, an LP filled with wave and R&B that is more than worthy of your ear time and pocket money.
Without hesitation, Jessy took to the stage and started her set with “Fuck Diamond”, a catchy dance single from her debut album. Everyone approached the floor immediately and began dancing to the beat and her voice. With the crowd now in focus, she graced us with her brand new single, “It Means I Love You”, a juke-bounce inspired beat underneath sexy vocals that could be easily shuffled in with the likes of old TekLife records. Throughout her set, Jessy gave us plenty of new tracks, only playing a shy number of old tracks from her previous album. Although her set was shortened to seven tracks, it was still great to see how much her live performance has improved since the last few times I’ve seen her. She’s still bae.
With all these amazing performances I’m sure everyone was wondering what Junior Boys had in store. Having not toured the U.S. in years, the anticipation for them to come to the stage was increasing. The floor was now packed with only space being found on the balcony or near the bars. The lights grew dim as Junior Boys made their way on the stage.
In a single note. Junior Boys started off with a tasteful cover of John Martyn’s single, “Some People Are Crazy”, a ’80s Yacht-Rock joint. The place was now in full effect and luckily Jesse and the rest of the group were ready to play nothing but the fucking hits. The group continued with their old single “So This Is Goodbye”, a funky/down-tempo track that even Depeche Mode fans would find themselves dancing to.
Although the band was bound to old singles, they didn’t shy from playing new material either. The crowd was livid as soon as they played their new hit, “Over It”, from their 2015 album Big Black Coat. With everyone’s heart in focus,the boys went on to play more notable tracks such as, “Count Souvenirs” and “Under The Sun”. After leaving the stage and coming back for their encore, Greenspan then addressed the crowd and gave us an exclusive note that they would be coming back to Los Angeles to play FYF in August. Finishing their set with “Banana Ripple” off their 2011 album It’s All True, the crowd was dancing and singing more than ever to finish the night.
Junior Boys have a set a great tone for what a live performance should be, and I can’t imagine with an even bigger stage and crowd just what these guys will pull off in the future.