"Hello, we are Junior Boys from Canada, and we are going to play a few songs," says singer Jeremy Greenspan as he climbs on stage. It is 10:36 pm at Bottom of the Hill in San Francisco and his band's name is brightly lit in fluorescent orange and yellow above his head.
Then, the aural assault begins. I tried to gage how the Junior Boys show would pan out in person. How would they pull off the blips and the booms live? Would it just be Greenspan running maniacally around the tiny venue, touching his fingers to weird machines? Or would he hire an electro-army to perform songs off this year's release, So This Is Goodbye (Domino)?
It turns out that whatever expectation I had of the down tempo outfit got way, way exceeded. As the band churned into the title track for their set opener, I saw people get cozy with their friends and lovers, hands sway in the air, and eyes close to feel the vibrations electrify through their skin.
It was a wonderful experience, needless to say. Junior Boys quickly jumped into "The Equalizer" soon after. Greenspan's voice was a smooth and milky version of the studio album, and the band delved into works from their recent release, as well as 2004's Last Exit with "Teach Me How To Fight." Knob tiwddler Matthew Didemus hit all the correct distortions and pauses for "Count Souvenirs" and "In The Morning," two high points of the show. As each song ended and a new one began and I was extremely impressed by how well the sound system pulled off each deliberate and delicate sound Didemus made. The drummer, a bald man outfitted in large aviators and an open-front white collared shirt, kept perfectly in tune with the other two, never missing a beat and clearly on a mission to get the front row to dance.
It did, however, throw me off on how good Greenspan's voice really is. Imagine coming to watch the dude from Iron & Wine sing, and ending up hearing the combination of M. Ward and Fran Healy's voices come out instead. He strummed and sang with the greatest of ease and looked humbled every time the sold out crowd went ballistic with enthusiasm and applause.
I overheard Greenspan in the smoking area after the show say he was working with the producers on the new MetroArea record, and that Junior Boys had already dug into starting the recording process for their own new material. I am so, so excited to see what they have to show us next.
by Jenn Hernandez