I met Joey Valence and Brae during an interview over Zoom about two weeks before their concert to advertise their upcoming show. I was excited to chat with the boys, as I had studied their music (as much as one can study YouTube videos), and I was intrigued to understand the dynamic duo. Not much time passed before I was able to see their personalities feeding off each other, complementing each other’s thoughts and jokes. We finished the interview with smiles and warm feelings, and I was asked if I would be joining their concert. At the time, I thought I would be out of town, so I left the call half-heartbroken after saying no. But, the stars aligned when I saw I got my dates wrong, so I grabbed a friend, called an Uber, and headed to JVB’s light.
When my friend and I arrived at Club Dada, the venue was already buzzing. People with punk makeup covering their faces, dark clothes matching the lighting, moms with cameras, and people with funky hats were eagerly waiting for the main show to start. People warmed up to the opening group, an ensemble of rappers called The Crown. Once The Crown got up from the throne, JVB’s DJ began playing oldies-but-goodies to loosen up the joints.
Finally, the DJ mixed some JVB into the mix, alluding to their appearance in a few minutes. In a flash, a sporty Brae and a casual JV came to the stage. The crowd roared to “Crank It Up,” intensifying their voices to match those of JVB’s. Brae spotted me from the crowd and waved, while Joey contorted to the music like a dancing inflatable tube man. The venue shook, and with it, the young people threw their necks and elevated their feet.
The atmosphere pulsated with vibrant energy. JVB were high-powered, dancing and encouraging the crowd to join, typical of artists who enjoy the communities their music gathers. However, their performance was different from an overly-polished performance. Although I was in the crowd, looking up to the boys as they moved and smiled, I did not feel like I was in a concert, but rather in a garage with friends surrounding me. JVB took on hosting roles, delivering a party to talk about for days.
Joey and Brae transcended from the roles of artists and became part of the experience, not just the experience. The lines between stage and floor felt useless, with fans offering snacks, and the boys asking people to showcase any special talents. We became part of a gang during “Hooligang” and traveled to the ‘90s with “Punk Tactics.” Club Dada sank up to 10 feet down, as we smashed down the foundation during “Double Jump.”
Although I wish I had seen them in a more packed venue and for a longer set (which will change once their new album comes out), the experience left an impression. JVB incinerated the stage with their vigor, and I was glad to be part of the ashes.