JoyCut | Live in Bologna

The buzz at Teatro Auditorium Manzoni is undeniable, and the excitement is justified as tonight’s concert cannot be mistaken for anything but a standalone event. Italy’s electronic music stalwarts JoyCut are scheduled to give a once-in-a-lifetime performance to an audience of fans, supporters, industry, friends and family.

Genre-bending, unconventional, the Bologna-based trio is no newcomer. With a track record that covers a period of more than fifteen years, the DIY leaning act still continues to make waves in their home country and further afield. There’s a great sense of fulfilment in ticking off a prestigious list of live shows, having performed in many parts of the world. Three continents, seventy-four countries and two hundred and sixteen cities, yet tonight’s show seems somewhat the greatest contender of them all.

Always living and learning the group’s studio albums remain key to understanding how the Italian underground pioneers continue to evolve. Their debut The Very Strange Tale of Mr. Man shows the music they love, follow up Ghost Trees Where To Disappear is more personal, PiecesOfUsWereLeftOnTheGround, the third record, demonstrates a completely different side to the band, while founding member, songwriter and guitarist Pasquale Pezzillo compares TheBluWave, the most recent record,to an “opera”.

The atmosphere this evening says a lot about the level of ambition that underpins the show, the vibe comes across through spoken words delivered by Fabio Pappacena, taken from Günther Anders’ ‘The Obsolescence of Humankind’. It’s a powerful intro, which sets the tone.

Conducted by Valentino Corvino, paired with a full orchestra is also enough to signify an extraordinary event. Placing JoyCut at the back of the stage does mean they aren’t as visible as they could, or probably should be, but the advantage is that when the focus is on them the audience turns and stretches to get a view. 

A favourite of Robert Smith, The Cure’s frontman is a symbol of the band’s passion. As a genuine admirer of the Italians, the goth rock icon invited them to appear at 2018’s Meltdown Festival, a moment they probably won’t forget any time soon. While Smith isn’t present this evening, it feels like he might as well have been, as the magnitude of the connection seems to transfer.

Comprising of some twenty arrangements, the set inspires and probes from beginning to end. The combined effort of dark textures, layered compositions and a full-blown orchestration offers nuance. Starting out with the Siberia, closely followed by TheFirstSong is an enticing start. Reminiscent of New Order, the lush moment begins quietly, and as electro sounds exuberate they meet compelling percussion. This is before the realism of KOMOREBI and Antropocene instigate the pace of the display, the latter moment conveys an all-consuming message on environmental concerns. Elsewhere, mid-set, absorbing renditions of Francis&Violet, Plato and DarkStar stun seated spectators.

It’s a captivating performance that lasts a little more than two hours, it doesn’t feel like a long set, it is a treat. The tribal percussion stands out, it is the icing on the cake, which is saying something.

Well-considered but edgy, the use of video projections accompanies each song where powerful, dramatic video footage is used to supply thought-provoking food for thought. Making sense of the big picture, topics such as humanity, modern life, environmental sustainability and world politics are tackled with the help of invention. It is engaging, informative and entertaining.

Closing the show with a rare version of The Cure’s TREASURE just seems made for the show. Underlining some of the sources behind JoyCut’s inspiration, it is the ultimate way to wrap up what has been a very special concert.

Upcoming tour dates are below, to book tickets go to

Review Susan Hansen

Photography Massimo Lovisco

WED    25        STUTTGART, DE – LKA LONGHORN                           
THR     26        WIESBADEN, DE – SCHLACHTHOF                              
FRI       27        ZURICH, CH – VOLKSHAUS                                             
SAT      28        GENEVA, CH – ALHAMBRA                                             
SUN     29        ERLANGEN, DE – E-WERK                                                

THR     2          VIENNA, AT – OTTAKRINGER BRAUEREI                    
FRI       3          BUDAPEST, HU – AKVARIUM KLUB                              
SAT      4          LJUBLJANA, SI – KINO SISKA                                           
MON    6          ROME, IT – PARCO DELLA MUSICA                               
TUE      7         TREZZO SULL’ADDA , IT – LIVE              

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