Joanna Gruesome, the scappy, guitar heavy but somehow still dream pop band, have mainly flown under the radar during their career so far; and undeservingly so. The Haunt on Tuesday night was adorned by hard core music fans, who knew every word and guitar solo, head banging gleefully, but there was also people who appeared wary at first to the band launching into their spiky tracks, forgoing an introduction and leaving onlookers pondering what was going to happen.
This unpredictable nature of Joanna Gruesome plays a role in the enjoyability of their gigs, and by the finale, all members of the not quite full crowd were fully brought to the gruesome side. Back in May, lead singer Alanna McArdle announced she was leaving the band, albiet her departure is sad, the band haven’t continued with the feeling of a gaping hole on the stage. McArdles two replacements, Kate Stonestreet (previously known from Glasgow feminist/queer punk band Pennycress) and Roxy Brennan (Two White Cranes, Grubs and others) add something new to the group; Stonestreet taking charge of the melodies whilst Brennan storms and screams her way through, adding that punk anarchist feeling.
The explosive Jermone (Liar) was a crowd favourite, whilst Hey! I Wanna Be Yr Best Friend and all its offbeat balladry glory ignited a drunken swaying from members of the audience. Sugarcrush makes Joanna Gruesome seem one of the best pop bands in the world, not cheesy and bubblegum but calculated with synthetic dreamy vocals. The set was brought to a close by a culmination of punk screaming from Brennan paired with some brass backing by support group The Jelas.
Peanut Butter, the bands last creation was artful and interesting and with this new line up, it’s going to be very exciting to see what happens with Joanna Grusome next, and hopefully more people will be there to watch it.
Words by Daisy Lester