Putting a finger on You Won’t’s sound is tricky because they cross a great many genres, much like their three opening acts. Jeff Beam’s psychedelic sound clashed with Apollo one’s alternative piano driven riffs, and Rusty Bells’ country songs made us feel like we should be at a barbeque where Christmas lights hang from haystacks. However, it was You Won’t that covered almost all the bases.
In a single set, You Won’t played folk, indie rock, pop rock, country, blues, and songs I can’t even classify. But saying You Won’t’s sound is mix of pop and folk just doesn’t cut it in this particular case. With Josh Arnoudse’s guitar and Bob Dylan-like vocals, and Racky Sastri on everything from drums to toy xylophones, watching You Won’t perform is like looking through a box of yellowing photographs found in an abandoned house. They are Mumford and Sons through the mind of Doctor Frankenstein, a bi-polar carnival ride, and a toddler painting on the walls. Their song “Three Car Garage” sounds like they’ve gone through my childhood garage of memories and put them into songs—and from the crowd reaction everyone else felt the same way.
Everything about the show felt intimate. Perhaps it was because of Middle East’s small space, but I doubt it. I’ve been to other shows where the line between band and audience was far too clear. You Won’t crossed this line both on and off stage. At one point in their set, Arnoudse and Sastri jumped off the stage to play two songs from within the crowd. Arnoudse also felt comfortable having a quick conversation in German with a member of the audience. It really felt like we were all watching our friends practice songs in their basement.
Apart from their wacky roller coaster sound and the intimate performance style, what makes you want to listen to You Won’t is that their show and their music is filled with life—both the pleasant and the painful. Their album is available on their website and if you’re one of those people complaining about the state of music these days, I suggest you listen to Skeptic Goodbye—it may just make you less cynical.
Photo Credit: Grace Donnelly