Although spring began a week earlier, heavy sleet drenched the roads and T tracks in a manner all too typical of Massachusetts weather. But, given that New Englanders are a resilient breed, the elements didn’t deter groups of Bostonians from pouring into Brighton Music Hall to watch Juice perform. The venue was jam-packed with a variety of audience members ranging from middle-aged couples lining the edges of the room to a conglomeration of college students surrounding the stage in a swaying mass of cheap liquor, hipster attire, and anticipation.
Despite a somewhat nondescript exterior, Brighton Music Hall was transformed into a colorful hub bursting with energy once the performance began. A standing-room only venue, the music hall provided a cozy ambiance seemingly perfect for forgetting the dregs of winter during the sold-out show. The close proximity to the stage created an atmosphere of intimacy with musical passion practically radiating from the artists as they performed.
Openers Los Elk and Kyle Thornton & Company complemented each other beautifully with an energizing mix of smooth soul and upbeat indie rock, but the crowd came even more alive when Boston College’s very own signature band took the stage.
Juice has twice won BC’s “Battle of the Bands” and now headlines at a variety of notable venues including the Land the Big Gig music festival in Milwaukee last summer. Entirely comprised of current and former BC students, the band includes vocalist Ben Stevens, CSOM ’18; vocalist and electric violinist Christian Rougeau, MCAS ’18; vocalist and guitarist Kamau Burton, MCAS ’17; guitarists Daniel Moss, MCAS ’17, and Michael Ricciardulli, MCAS ’17; drummer Miles Clyatt, MCAS ’17; keyboardist Chris Vu, MCAS ’17; and bassist Rami El-Abidin, BC ’15.
In the 10 minute interim between the openers leaving the stage and Juice taking it, the audience could feel the anticipation and energy as Juice members adjusted microphones and rearranged amps. Dressed in attire typical for your average khakied, polo-doning male BC student, it wasn’t hard to picture the members of Juice lounging in a common room in Walsh as easily as performing a show. Once they started playing, it became evident that the guys of Juice are anything but typical.
Juice, in a word, is electrifying. Although technically exemplary, its excellence lies in its passion. After opening up with a bouncy guitar melody—catchy to the degree that one couldn’t help but dance to it—Juice segued into a number of fresh eclectic beats.
In “Where I Want to Be,” a tune familiar to Juice fans, Rougeau treated the audience to impressive riffs, captivating the crowd alongside impressive vocals. In “Gold,” the most noticeable element was the pounding, rhythmic, energetic percussion, giving a rock vibe complemented by smooth, throaty vocals and violin lines that pranced across the heavier guitar and bass.
In all of Juice’s songs, listeners may be struck by how each member’s part is distinguished on its own yet blends richly with the other seven voices, creating a multi-dimensional, seamless sound. In a cover of “I” by Kendrick Lamar, listeners were pleased, although not entirely surprised by this point, to realize that Juice can rap—and well. This point was reemphasized by the flooring rendition of “Gold Digger” that they used to close out this and many of its shows.
Juice is light. Juice is fruity. Juice is exhilarating. By creating music layered with complexity, vivacity, and depth beyond what one would expect, Juice reminded a room full of winter weary 20-somethings that life’s about creating something rife with passion—and having fun while doing it.
Featured Image by Julia Hopkins / Heights Editor