Mt. Joy

Mt. Joy w/ Wilderado• August 16, 2022• Sandy Amphitheater

Reviewed and Photographed by Kevin Rolfe

Sometimes I’ll get excited about a show simply based on what I hear from other people.  I heard so many people telling me that they were excited for Mt. Joy at Sandy Amphitheater with Wilderado. This would be the first time I saw Mt. Joy  I wasn’t sure what to expect.  A number of people who’s opinion I respect told me I would for sure enjoy it.  So I showed up with no expectations, only to have a good time.  And that I did.  


Photo Credit: Kevin Rolfe

I was very excited about seeing Wilderado for the first time.  Utah Concert Review covered them back at the Soundwell and I was really bummed I didn’t get to attend.  I remember once I made the assignment for Tomo (Who did a great job on his first review with us btw) I listened to them and immediately regretted not covering this show myself.  I really like these guys.  

It was a hot evening and when Wilderado took the stage people were still filing in.  I have to say I was a little disappointed for them. There was a decent crowd but for the most part, people hadn’t arrived.  It looked so weird visually because people up front had filled in and then people had filled up the lawn at the top of Sandy Amphitheater.  I really wanted the venue to be more filled out for these guys.  They are so good and I believe they’re going places.  

I’m not sure if the guys were bummed when they walked out or if they just understand that sometimes this is how it goes for an opener.  Their playing didn’t seem affected.  They seemed to come out and just jump right into it. The band has a very laid back presence on stage.  If I was going to nitpick one thing about this band it would be that.  But since this was my first time seeing the band live, I’m not sure if they were just staying mellow due to the heat or perhaps the low early turnout.  So I want to be fair about that. 

I thought of The Killers when I saw the Wilderado on stage.  Not that they sound like them, they don’t  But I remember when The Killers started they kind of just stood there and their stage presence didn’t match the music.  But they’ve become amazing live performers and I believe as time goes on, so will Wilderado.    

People who weren’t there yet missed out on “Head Right” one of Wilderado’s singles off their self-titled debut album.  I love that song.  It was so fun to be in the photo pit, right up against the stage as the song began.  I keep things professional, but I was definitely singing along as I took photos.     

Wilderado was very thankful to Mt. Joy for bringing them along on this tour.  It seems like they’ve known each other for some time and that they are friends outside of the tour.  It must be so fun traveling together and going through this experience together. 

By the end of Wilderado’s set, the crowd had filled in much more.  I was happy that at least at some point during their performance they had a decent crowd.  Social media can be tricky, but from the looks of their other shows, they had great crowds turn up for their part of the show.  My feeling is that Wilderado is a band that has the potential to be a huge band that we hear of for years and years.  With songs like “Surefire”, their closer, and one of my favorite songs I’ve heard this year, I’m certain they’re making their mark on this tour. 

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Mt. Joy

I spoke to two women who drove four hours from Idaho to see the show.  They mentioned that the minute they saw Mt. Joy was touring with Wilderado they had to get tickets and make the drive.  They told me that it was the perfect show for them and after seeing an amazing set from Wilderado they were highly anticipating Mt. Joy to be as amazing.  

Mt Joy came to the stage to an enthusiastic audience.  The band looked equally as excited to see the crowd.  They opened with the title track to their latest album Orange Blood.  I loved their live sound.  It’s an interesting thing being in the photo pit between the crowd and the band. In the midst of shooting, I can see the connection being made between the band and the audience.  Of course, some are right in from the beginning.  But watching over the first three songs the bond being created is one of my favorite things to watch.  

Vocalist Matt Quinn sounded great.  He has such a cool voice.  And the type of voice that draws you into the rest of the band.  He shared that Mt. Joy loves coming to Utah.  Of course, the crowd loved hearing that.  Early favorites like “Strangers” and “Evergreen” got the audience on their feet.  

 I couldn’t help but notice keyboardist, Jackie Miclau’s playing. I wondered how much formal training she’s had.  Some of her solos were so intricate and detailed that I figured she had skills way beyond this immensely talented band.  She must be classically trained.  

Throughout the night I tried to pinpoint who Mt. Joy sounded like.  Who are their influences?  What genre would you call this?  There are elements of Alternative, moments of American Roots, and some touches of Folk even a little Jazz.  I settled on the thought that if The Grateful Dead, Allman Brothers, and an Alternative Rock band had a child, Mt. Joy would be the offspring.  When I listen to their albums they feel mostly like an Alternative music band.  But there is a real jam band quality about them live.  

I loved their staging.  The backdrop was three spheres with lighting rigs around them.  The lights and spheres would change colors throughout the show.  Mt. Joy isn’t a band that’s running across the stage and posing during every guitar or keyboard solo.  Their music doesn’t quite call for that.  So the staging really enhanced the performance of the night.  

Mt Joy has released two albums since the time they last toured.  So I think they were excited to finally get to perform these songs live.  It was clear that the audience was happy they no longer had to wait to finally hear the songs from these albums live.  Songs from both Rearrange Us and Orange Blood went over really well.  

Matt Quinn gave a shoutout to Wilderado.  He told the audience that they have a long history with them and that they have a genuine friendship.  Quinn told the crowd that “If you missed Wilderado’s set, you totally blew it.”  They are worthy of your support.  As previously stated, I couldn’t agree more.  

The main set ended with so many good songs like, “Lemon Tree” and of course “Silver Lining”.  What a great song!  Sometimes it’s a little bittersweet to hear the big songs because you know we’re getting close to the end of the show.  But I really enjoyed this song.  The whole place was moving and dancing and singing to this Mt. Joy favorite.  

The band returned after Quinn returned alone from the encore break to perform, “Bathroom Light”.  They closed the entire show with their first single “Astrovan”. My family had an Astrovan when I was growing up.  I know this song has nothing to do with that but I’m drawn to the song just by the title for that reason.  But then as the song goes along I feel the groove and the beat and I settle into the jam.  It was a perfect closer.  The band and the crowd were in total unison.  

After the long pandemic break, I’m sure it has been so nice to get back on the road.  Mt. Joy was opening for The Lumineers when things shut down.  Now two albums later they’re headlining their own tour.  I expect them to be back.  And I expect to be there.

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