The Depot in York, PA has become a reliable venue for a well-curated lineup of indie rock, metal, prog rock, and punk. It’s no wonder that the March 1st Depot triple bill featuring JoyCut, Bells, and Younger Me turned out to be the most appreciative audience of Joycut’s six-week U.S. tour (en route to South by Southwest) so far.
JoyCut, a three-piece from Bologna, Italy, is only beginning to make themselves known to U.S. audiences. Their particular style of music performance has been dubbed “dark & roll” by their widespread Italian fanbase. Syncopated dance drums from their two drummers support synth bass lines, screaming leads, and arpeggios from frontman Pasco Pezzillo.
Gael Califano’s set-up includes a snare, a set of chimes, a series of pipes and other found metal objects of varying sizes, and a bass drum mounted vertically, as in Japanese taiko. Nicola Maccarinelli has a more traditional kit that includes a hi-hat, but no other cymbals. The two play in graceful, driving unison, and the visual effect is like a well-choreographed, dark ballet.
The dreamlike quality is underscored by Pasco’s performance, which includes synthesizers, drum machines, and some live vocal effects and live guitar.
Their performance is like one big experiment in soundscaping – there are not really breaks between songs. But there were several short pauses here and there during their set at the Depot. During one of the brief lulls, someone in the crowd shouted, “ti amo!” and Pasco paused long enough to acknowledge them graciously before launching another rhythmic assault.
Watching them perform feels like a privilege, especially in smaller rock clubs like the Depot and other stops on this tour (such as Mercurcy Lounge in New York and Johnny Brenda’s in Philadelphia). While you’re standing there, entranced by their music and overall ethereal vibe, you get the sense that they’ll be playing bigger venues once word starts to spread here in the U.S. Someone at SXSW has taken notice of what a big deal they already are at home; they’re one of only four Italian bands featured as official acts in Austin next week.
They’ve shared the stage with the likes of Arcade Fire, Modest Mouse, The Editors, Art Brut, and Sebadoh. They are responsible for curating an entire day at Bolonga’s annual BOtanique arts and sustainability festival in the city’s Botanical Gardens.
If you weren’t fortunate enough to catch them at their recent shows here in the tri-state region, be sure to pick up their new LP, PiecesOfUsWereLeftOnTheGround, available in eco-friendly CD packaging and limited edition picture disc vinyl. They also recorded an episode of the Underground Lounge podcast during their visit to York. The episode will go live later in March.
GALLERY – JOYCUT @ THE DEPOT – YORK, PA – 3.1.14
Photos by: Kari Delaney – Skyelite Photography