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Austin Psych Fest Live (Sunday): No Joy

Montreal gals get lost in the fray
Luke Winkie, 1:17pm, Mon. Apr. 29, 2013
photo by Gary Miller
No Joy in Mudville

Time to create an infographic for the number of guitars played at this year’s Austin Psych Fest. It could be broken down into subcategories: Who played their guitars with chimerical delirium? Who played them in that massive, wall-of-sound, shoegaze-thrash way? How many of them felt embarrassed when they heard other bands jack their style?

I say this because watching No Joy at 7pm on Sunday was a bit humorous. Not that they don’t deserve our respect, because they do. The Montreal, three-gal quartet has a clear songwriting vision and enough gravitas to pull it off.

It’s just that by the last afternoon of APF, I’d seen so many bands whose fundamental premise was to shatter the audience with a loud, roaring swell of feedback that I’ve run out of superlatives. No Joy could’ve just sent me the Cliff Notes of the performance and that would’ve been enough for me to experience the set anyway.

This band can easily charge $8 at Red 7, have everyone bounce around for 90 minutes, and earn a thoroughly positive write-up. And yet, they couldn’t help but sound anonymous at Psych Fest. Therein lies the core issue with APF: its specificity remains wonderful and generous, but it also creates such a glut that a band like No Joy gets lost along the way.

I’m not saying No Joy comes off boring or generic. I’m saying that after a Thursday through Sunday run of similar bands, it was hard for them not to sound that way.

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