I normally get to Pappy and Harriet’s a couple of hours before the show so I can assure myself a spot next to the stage.
But on Friday, March 10, I discovered I had been beaten to the punch by a dozen or so fans who had been there since about 2 p.m., eagerly waiting to see pop-punk outfit Joyce Manor. Some came from the San Fernando Valley and others from Orange County, but all were hardcore fans—and they wanted to make sure they did not miss the show.
Audacity from Fullerton opened, turning in a well-executed set. This classic-style punk band is obviously influenced by the well-established punk scene in the northern part of Orange County. “Subway Girls” was particularly catchy and fun, nicely warming fans up for the headliner.
The moment the first note from Joyce Manor was heard by the crowd, attendees were catalyzed into a mix of moshing and pushing that lasted the whole set; I was able keep only one hand on the camera while bracing against the speaker monitor, something I endured for about 2 1/2 songs. Big Dave and his security posse tried to enforce the “no moshing” rule— to no avail. Sweaty kids sitting since 2 in afternoon were not going to comply.
The goal by the fans was simple: Plow forward to the front of the stage, only to be pushed back and forth during the frenzied set. “Falling in Love Again” and “Schley,” from 2014’s Never Hungover Again, spurred a non-stop sing-along. Inept crowd surfing was squelched by a low ceiling and a very low concrete beam.
The band’s 20-plus song set was fast and good, only stopping when fans got a little too close. Frontman Barry Johnson was having a blast as security tried to stop the moshing. “Did you know Paul McCartney played here?” he asked, giving fans an understanding of the magical people who had played the same stage.
Otherwise, Johnson was all business, only pausing to acknowledge the love from the fans and to check in when the moshing got rough: “Are you guys all right?”
Joyce Manor ended the set with the catchy “Constant Headache.” The energy from the audience didn’t ebb until the last note was played.