Live Review: Joni In The Moon

5 December 2015 | 11:38 am | Thomas Munday

"Joni in the Moon, once again, put themselves and the venue on the map for this summer’s music season."

The State Theatre Centre’s Courtyard Club is one of Northbridge’s best-kept secrets. Currently, RTRFM 92.1’s Courtyard Club Series is giving local bands including Joni In The Moon the chance to soak up Friday arvo vibes and showcase their eclectic stylings. Stepping out to a buzzing audience and alluring food and drink vendors in humid temperatures, lead singer Joni Hogan immediately drew the crowd’s attention. Everyone went silent as Joni acknowledged traditional landowners before launching into opening track L’il Star. The singer’s captivating vocals, Josh Hogan’s unique synth/electronica style, and Steven Richter’s catchy drum-line drew gasps from fans and stunned patrons.

Joni - donning a blue jumpsuit-like outfit covered in smiley faces, red belt, and bleach-blonde hair – was a soft-spoken and polite presence between songs. The singer, briefly acknowledging the crowd, jumped from one song to the next without pause. The ensemble’s second number, Dove Song, kicked the tempo up a notch. The new track’s thumping percussive rhythm and pulsating beat enlivened the steadily teaming, head-bopping masses. Joni and back-up vocalists Tara John-Rhodes and Odette Mercy’s soothing harmonies rang throughout Northbridge’s already bustling metropolis. Throughout the event, the group acknowledged its strong-willed socio-political messages. Joni dedicated the set’s third track, On The Water, to people seeking asylum across the world. The emotionally gripping and soulful rendition again highlighted Joni’s driving high notes.

Throughout each number, Joni In The Moon showcased its experimental, ambitious alt-folk-pop flourishes and nuances. Edgy track War & Porn further hypnotised the audience thanks to confronting lyrics and enchanting synth tune. Defined by strong hooks and thunderous baselines, the track’s rousing ascension proved the group’s dynamic stage presence. Joni led a soulful, vocal-driven performance of their sophomore album’s latest single Tarantella, powering through heart-wrenching lyrics before hitting a pacey, invigorating crescendo. Yellow Moon, dedicated to a young girl at her first gig in the audience, further illuminated its lead singer’s potential as a formative, versatile performer. Her crystal-clear sound and smooth stage moves blended seamlessly with the group’s sharp, silky style. Sorrow Trees, the titular track from the debut album released last year, kept to the set’s out-of-this-world atmosphere. As synth flourishes rang throughout the venue, the track’s percussive rhythms helped the band and audience overlook slight audio difficulties.

After a brief but effective and energetic 45-minute set, Joni gave a significant amount of credit to the esteemed band members surrounding her. The group closed out its set with Helicopters as the setting sun shone favourably over the venue. The track’s propulsive riffs and instrumentals further roused onlookers, up until its frenzying, synth-driven conclusion. Joni In The Moon, once again, put themselves and the venue on the map for this summer’s music season.

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