Olivia McCarthy, aka JOY., has long been touted as one of the acts to watch in Australian music. Seemingly coming out of nowhere, she has been quick to show everyone what she is really made of for over a year now since the release of her stunning debut, Captured. She’s played at BIGSOUND, Laneway and Field Day, toured the country many times and supported Miami Horror, George Maple, Tkay Maidza and so many more. She’s prolific in her creative output and is without a doubt one of the hardest working people in the biz right now, so it really came as no surprise that things came full circle during her latest tour.
Since releasing one of her best songs yet in About Us, things have kicked into overdrive for the 18 year old. Pretty much a one-woman-band, you can hear her striving for more; striving to be better. Having caught her live show in a few different variations, I can confirm this is also evident in that setting as well. Not afraid to experiment and shake things up, JOY. has moved from a solo set up to a full, more traditional band setting, all the way to what Brisbane was privy to on Friday, November 13. With a more electronic styled band behind her, JOY. sounded her most full, most refined and most complete in this variation – and the few hundred also there would definitely agree.
With supports from up-and-comers in their own right, Owen Rabbit and Joe Mungovan, it was an aural extravaganza at the Foundry on Friday night. Whilst both artists delivered fantastic sets – Rabbit in particular – it was disappointing to see very few people present for both acts. Towards the end of Rabbit’s set, the crowd slowly started trickling through, then it was quite suddenly packed just in time for JOY. to take the stage. I’m not sure how quite literally 100+ people planned it to the very minute before she started, but props to them for finally arriving.
The bass was thick, JOY.’s voice was stunning, the swirl of her intricate productions was mesmerising. Looking the most at home with this current set up, JOY. left it up to the music to do the talking, and delivered a set so jam packed with tracks there was really very little time for crowd interaction. Captured, Stone, Weather, and of course About Us wowed audiences, as well as cuts from her latest EP and some enticing new tracks to keep an eye out for. JOY. looked out from the bare stage trying to get a glimpse at just how many people had come to see her in her hometown, and whilst I’m not sure if she would have been able to see right at the back, but the numbers would speak for themselves.
It’s sort of like things have come full circle for JOY.. It was just last year she burst onto the nation’s radar with a slew of stellar singles, and when you fast forward 12+ months, she’s playing a packed room in her native Brisbane. It’s been an exciting ride so far for the producer/singer/songwriter/multi instrumentalist, and if this is what she is capable of with just a year under her belt, we cannot wait to see what the next 12 months will hold. Onwards and upwards!