Review: Silversun Pickups, Joywave Make The Majestic Ventura an Early Stop on U.S. Tour

Joywave Noorzay
Joywave Noorzay
Silversun Pickups - Photo © 2016 Abe Noorzay
Silversun Pickups – Photo © 2016 Abe Noorzay


VENTURA – The Majestic Ventura had a double­header that any alternative fan would go nuts for. Joywave and Silversun Pickups played their second show of a six­-week tour together across the U.S.

Joywave played first and these New Yorkers really know how to put on a show. Between Sean Donnelly’s (bassist) dynamic dancing around the stage, Joey Morinelli’s (guitarist) epic hair flips, and Danny Armbruster’s slightly nerdy, but still amusing stage presence, I didn’t know what I was supposed to be watching.

After an exceptional performance by Joywave, the tour devils that are the Silversun Pickups came on stage and the crowd erupted.

This was the first time the Los Angeles natives had played the Majestic Ventura, as frontman Brian Aubert mentioned. They opened with “Cradle,” which is also the intro to their latest release, Better Nature, which came out in 2015 and played music from most of their albums in their 16-­song set. They closed with the band’s biggest hit “Lazy Eye” and when they unexpectedly came back for an encore, they played “Kissing Families,” “Dots and Dashes,” and “The Wild Kind.”

Joywave - Photo © 2016 Abe Noorzay
Joywave – Photo © 2016 Abe Noorzay

Aubert’s stage presence was natural and fun. Smiling big and dancing the entire night as he played his guitar and sang beautifully with his iconic soprano voice. Nikki Monninger, SSPU’s bassist and backup vocalist, stayed quietly in the back with poise and her shy smile. Brian even pointed out how shy she was and teased her a bit by putting the spotlight on the bassist and telling the entire crowd to stare at her­ it gave everyone a nice laugh.

And while we’re still talking about the band members, Chris Guanlao may be one of the greatest drummers I have ever seen play. He knew what he was doing with every song and his long hair flowing everywhere as he headbanged made it all the more fun to watch. And Joe Lester also did an exceptional job on the keyboard; he played all of the background strings and also had great stage presence with his headbanging and sweat dripping. Technically, this band is a good as you’re going to get.