91X's Inspired By Music Series: Mt. Joy

with Vista Kicks

91X's Inspired By Music Series: Mt. Joy

Wed Jul 25

91X's Inspired By Music Series: Mt. Joy

with Vista Kicks

Doors: 7:00 pm
Start: 8:00 pm
Age: All ages
Price:$15

With over 3 million streams on their song “Astrovan”, Mt Joy has been rising in the indie folk scene for the past couple years. Their latest release, their self-titled album, has found equal success.

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Event Information

With over 3 million streams on their song “Astrovan”, Mt Joy has been rising in the indie folk scene for the past couple years. Their latest release, their self-titled album, has found equal success.


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Genre: indie folk


Ticket Price: $15 advanced & day of show


PARKING: Street parking and paid lot parking available.


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No persons under the age of eighteen (18) years shall be permitted at any time into the designated entertainment area(s) whenever entertainment is provided unless such person is accompanied by their parent, spouse, or legal guardian or an adult twenty-five (25) years or older who has written authorization from the parent, spouse, or legal guardian. Intent of this condition is to allow sale and service of food to minors in a bona fide public eating place with reasonable conditions placed to prevent curfew violations, protect the minors from alcohol and other criminal activity. 

Mt. Joy

"These dreams are more than paper things," sings Matt Quinn on Mt. Joy's infectious folk-rocker "Astrovan," a warm, yearning bit of road-trip philosophy that posits the existence of a Deadhead Jesus cruising the dusty highways of the countryside, nursing a roach on his way to only He knows where. It's an auspicious line from a band predicated on the revival of teenage dreams.

Mt. Joy started off as a rekindling of shared musical ambitions between Philadelphia high school friends Matt Quinn (vocals, guitar) and Sam Cooper (guitar). Reunited in Los Angeles thanks to the ebbs and flows of adult life, the pair met multi-instrumentalist Michael Byrnes through a Craigslist ad. They named themselves Mt. Joy as an ode to a mountain in Valley Forge National Park near Sam's childhood home, and together, with Byrnes' roommate Caleb Nelson producing, they recorded three songs and sent them out into the world, hoping for the best. "I knew I still wanted to write songs, but the realities of life made that dream seem pretty impossible," Quinn says.

Much to the band's amazement, "Astrovan" accomplished the impossible. Without initial promotion or fanfare, the song took off on Spotify, racking up 5 million streams to date. "The irony of 'Astrovan' was that song was really about being stuck in a life and wanting to have the opportunity to pursue a dream, and in an instant it gave us that opportunity. " Quinn says. Mt. Joy quickly transitioned from a part-time calling into a full-fledged band rounded out by Byrnes on bass, Sotiris Eliopoulos on drums and Jackie Miclau on keyboard.

Come 2017, Mt. Joy hit the road, and hit it hard: They played tour dates alongside the likes of The Shins, The Head and The Heart, The Lone Bellow, and Whitney, and popped up at some of the summer's biggest festivals, including Bonnaroo, Newport Folk Festival, Lollapalooza and Made In America. "We were put on some big shows very quickly," Quinn says. "The growth for us has been exponential - we've really just become a family that's constantly pushing each other and the live show to be great." They eventually caught the attention of Dualtone Records and began work on their debut album.

Steeped in folk-rock tradition and powered by the intuitive creative connection between Quinn and Cooper, the songs on 'Mt. Joy' depict Quinn wrestling with his own conscience, where the mundane and the fantastic collide as he processes tragedy, society, and love. Opener "I'm Your Wreck" describes "monsters in (the) closet, using up the wi-fi" as it cycles from its desperate, spiraling verses to its swinging, stubbornly optimistic coda, while the loping, plaintive chords of "Younger Days" meditate on a frayed psyche and the fear of choosing the wrong path. "Sheep," with its collapsing, hoarse-voiced cry of "freedom was paid in blood," is a post-Trump salvo on the responsibilities of the fortunate to overcome political and social despondency. And on "Silver Lining," perhaps the album's brightest moment, Quinn surveys the damage of hard drugs and the vicious cycle of addiction, as the song's melancholic sentiment kicks into its fervid, defiant chorus, all shout-along vocals and trilling guitars.

Taken together, the self titled 'Mt. Joy' LP is a startlingly open document, wracked with the anxieties and fears that come just as life seems to start working out. It's a natural reaction from a wary band like Mt. Joy - the result of a sort of professional vertigo, as they've gone from virtual unknowns to hot young commodity in little over a year. But there's a sense of hope underlying everything, girded by the fact that the Mt. Joy LP is an impressive, honest portrayal of a young band facing that moment where dreams become reality, and finding beauty in the exhilarating uncertainty of it all.

Vista Kicks

It reads like the kind of story you’d see in an old rock rag or zine…

Four lifelong friends from Northern California grow up obsessed with the sounds of AC/DC, The Beatles, Black Sabbath, The Bee Gees and Michael Jackson. Living within a block of each other since kindergarten, they began playing anywhere and everywhere with a stage by the age of 16, taking over supper clubs, parties, and backyard barbecues. After their single “Make It Real” cracked 2 million Spotify streams, they made a collective decision to forego college and trade their small Sacramento suburb for Hollywood, forming Vista Kicks in late 2015. Living together in a cramped one-bedroom apartment, the quartet—Derek Thomas, Sam Plecker, Trevor Sutton, and Nolan Le Vine—quietly ignited a buzz throughout L.A. and beyond with two full U.S. national tours under their belts and recording with Tommy Lee behind the board.

Back in L.A., they’d sell out local shows and host intimate (and raging) booze-soaked “Vista Kick Backs” in the studio where they resided for four months. Within a year, the band’s independent 2016 Chasing Waves EP and additional singles generated over 5 million cumulative Spotify streams and 3.2 million YouTube views. However, everything set the stage for the release of their 2017 full-length, Booty Shakers Ball—self-produced by the musicians themselves and engineered by their guitar player and vocalist Sam Plecker.

Best described as a smoked-out collaboration between James Brown and Jimmy Page, it bridges eras.

“This is ‘Booty Shaking Rock and Roll’,” says Trevor. “We’re so far behind that we’re ahead; I don’t think there’s anything else like us out there. Every song is different and eclectic.”

“We’re old soul millennials,” exclaims Trevor. “We’re young and wound up like everybody else our age, but our roots go deep. We’ve found an audience that’s just like us. It’s rock music that you can shake your booty to and party.”

That’s exactly what the first single and album opener “Gotta Get Away” offers. Hinging on bluesy and ballsy riffing as well as a simmering, soulful groove, the track opens up the world of Vista Kicks, treading a fine line between rock and funk.

“Lyrically, it’s about how ambition can get in the way of love,” reveals Derek. “It happens at any age. Art gets in the way of contentment and ambition—or vice versa. It’s a conflict.”

Elsewhere on the record, “Fight The War” turns into a rallying cry for anyone chasing a dream soundtracked by bold guitars and brash vocals.
“It was about our struggles in the business,” sighs Sam. “A couple of years ago, we were doing a lot of songwriting sessions. We’d go into these sessions, and we’d be told these songs aren’t good enough. We had fans saying just the opposite. We didn’t have respect from the industry; however, the people did respect us. We sided with our fans.

“We put in our 10,000 hours since we were 16- and 17-years-old, that’s what makes our live show our strongest asset. It’s also where we have the most fun.” - Sam

In the end, they will be heard in a big way as they invite everyone to the Booty Shakers Ball.

“I hope people know these songs are there for them,” Nolan leaves off. “Hopefully, the music is useful. We’ve benefitted so much from the music of others. We want to give something back with what we do.”

“We don’t make an effort to be cool; we put all our efforts into being honest,” concludes Derek. “When you hear us, we just want you to be yourself and enjoy the moment and the ride.”