Little Joy, Martini Ranch, 12/4/08

I assume that waking up with a medley of about four different Little Joy songs mashed together in my head, seamlessly melding from one chorus to another, means I’ve started to become a fan.

I hadn’t been totally sold on the band’s self-titled debut, but the live show helped uncover some of the charm I think I was missing in the album.

Advertised as a trio, Little Joy suddenly was five – and sometimes six or seven – strong with Todd Dahlhoff of the Dead Trees standing in on bass. Add that to Rodrigo Amarante’s slightly raspy voice, and there was a little more heft and texture to the sound. By the time the show was ending, both opening bands – the Dead Trees and Red Cortez – were on stage to lend their help for a feel-good sing-along to Brand New Start, its head-over-heels chorus – “There ain’t no lover like the one I got” – a perfect closer for a night of uplifting vibes.

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