Jukebox the Ghost plays intimate show in Schine Underground

Review: With openers Io Echo, indie rockers Jukebox the Ghost closed this semester's Bandersnatch shows on Tuesday.

University Union hosted indie rockers Jukebox the Ghost and Io Echo in the Schine Underground on Tuesday night for this semester's final show in the Bandersnatch Music series.

Despite a late start and a smaller crowd than other Bandersnatch shows have attracted, the show was an incredible experience for those who were a part of it.

Photo: Marina Zarya
IO Echo performs at the last Bandersnatch show of the semester on Tuesday night.

Before Jukebox The Ghost took the stage, the crowd was warmed up by the grungier sound of IO Echo. 

With their feminine vocals coasting over loud distortion and an overload of strobe lights, IO Echo was the perfect band to wake up a crowd that had been waiting for the show to start longer than they should have been.

Doors were set to open at 7:30 p.m., but IO Echo did not take the stage until 9:00 p.m.

The crowd didn’t seem to mind. Many danced along, especially as the bridge of the band's second song kicked in. 

Once the band had the entire room interested, they asked if anyone had seen them this past week at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas.  A fair amount of cheers came as a surprise to the band, who had assumed that they were new faces to most of the crowd.

“Addicted” was the highlight of the IO Echo set, with a pulsing beat and a dark, sultry chorus, the entire crowd was sold, whether they had heard of the band before or not. 

After openers Io Echo finished their set, a half hour break kept the Underground buzzing with anticipation for Jukebox the Ghost. All who were in attendance were clearly diehard fans. Conversation and excitement were abundant.

Finally, at 9:50 p.m., the band took to the stage with a fan favorite, “Everybody Knows,” off of their most recent album, Safe Travels. It was immediately evident that the live show of trio Jukebox The Ghost is an experience that can hardly be compared to their recordings. 

With lead vocals split between Ben Thornewill (pianist), and Tommy Siegel (guitars), and Jesse Kristin playing a plethora of percussion instruments, the band would find it easy to fool people into believing that there are more than three members.   

Conversation flowed effortlessly between the band and the fans, each song separated by humorous anecdotes. The crowd was not a shy one, creating a personal dynamic that is a rarely encountered at a concert

All sang along with the rich harmonies of the band as they coasted through all of their fan favorites, from “Lighting Myself On Fire” to “Adulthood.” The longer the band played, the more the audience danced and clapped along.

Each of the band members expressed their gratitude for such an interested crowd multiple times throughout the set, and at one point even expressed disappointment with the presence of the barricade, wondering aloud why the crowd was “kept in a cage.” 

As the end of the set approached, Thornewill promised that the band would return to Syracuse in a heartbeat upon any request. The chemistry present in the room was undeniable. 

From wails of desperation and moody guitar riffs to groovy synths and uplifting piano chords, the set had it all, and in the most raw form possible. 

After dynamically pleasing song of the set, “All For Love,” the band segued into the song that the crowd had been waiting for, “Somebody.” Half of the crowd whipped out their camera phones to record the moment, while the other half completely let loose to dance and sing along.

Thornewill needlessly asked the eager-to-participate crowd to sing along to the cover song portion of the set, featuring “Somebody to Love” by Queen. While many should not attempt the vocals of Freddie Mercury, they were the strongest suit of the performance delivered by Jukebox the Ghost. 

Although the initial set lacked nothing, the crowd demanded an encore as soon as the band stepped off of the stage. It was no surprise that the band quickly returned for two more songs. This was a night that nobody wanted to end.

After telling stories about Luxury, the band's crowd surfing stuffed tiger, and expressing more gratitude for the kindness encountered in Syracuse, the band finished the show off aptly with “Good Day,” the first song off of their first full-length recording, Live and Let Ghosts.

All three members stayed in the Schine Underground to sign autographs and chat more with all of their fans.

While indie rock is one of the lesser represented genres in University Union concerts, the bands chosen always deliver quality performances. IO Echo and Jukebox the Ghost were no exceptions, and fans that filled the Schine Underground on Tuesday night undoubtedly went home satisfied.

The NewsHouse spoke with Jukebox the Ghost's Ben Thornewill last month. Check out the interview here.

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