joan Brings 90s Nostalgia to Ohio on Their Latest Tour

Arkansa-native band joan, conformed of band members Alan Benjamin Thomas and Steven Rutherford, made a stop in Ohio for the North American tour.

Photography: Lucy Jones

The upbeat pop duo, joan, made a stop in Columbus, Ohio on their recent The Wave Tour. The line outside of the local music venue, The Basement, waited eagerly to get inside, not only to seek shelter from the wind and evening showers but to sing the night away with the talented headliner. The venue filled up quickly, and you could feel the room vibrating with anticipation for the show to begin.


The two-man band conformed by Alan Benjamin Thomas and Steven Rutherford hail from Little Rock, Arkansas, and have only been on the scene for around 5 years at this point. The duo creates and produces a significant portion of their body of work from their home studios, and it’s this tiny detail that can be felt even when they perform live. As an audience member, you can feel that the narratives woven throughout their music are real and the emotions tied to them are genuine. That intimacy and vulnerability they allow themselves to show to their fans is no doubt why the joan has such a loyal following.


The Basement is one of the smaller venues on the Columbus music scene, but you wouldn’t have guessed it given their performance. Alan and Steven are such a magnetic duo to watch: their energetic stage presence makes you feel as though there have to be thousands of other fans behind you. At the same time, the intimate atmosphere created from forced proximity of hundreds of people bunched together right in front of the stage truly makes you feel as though they are singing right to you. How they manage to create such a paradoxical environment, I’ll never know, but it truly is a testament to the sheer talent of the band and their ability to enrapture an audience in all corners of the room.


The pop band is quite reminiscent of 90’s nostalgia, not only from their catchy beats but from the bright lights and vibrant colors of their graphics used on their onstage screens. This obvious effort put into the design and aesthetics of every aspect of the show makes you feel as though you are at a gigantic dance party that you never want to leave.


If there is one thing joan knows how to do, it’s writing a love song. Their songs “something special” and “cover girl” take the cynic right out of you and will have you manifesting under a full moon for a love as they describe. These songs become even sweeter once you know that both band members welcomed their own darling little girls with their respective partners late last year. The band joan has some of the most feel-good music ever created, don’t get me wrong “brokenhearted” and “try again” have made me shed quite a few tears late at night, and songs like “love me better” will have you simultaneously dancing and crying, which in my personal opinion is the best way to cry. The versatility and range of emotion evoked from joan’s discography had resulted in their music sneaking its way onto every one of the ridiculous amount of niche emotion-specific Spotify playlists in my library.


The energy that radiated from the stage could be felt in the back of the room, you never wanted to blink in the hopes it would make time last longer. I’ve never wanted more for a show to go on for an obscene amount of hours than I did when joan played their final song. joan put on a truly magnetic show, and I will be counting down the days until I can see them perform live again.


Fav Tracks: “want u back,” “don’t say you love me,” “ease your mind,” “waiting on nothing”


See the photos by Lucy Jones below.


 

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