Joseph on fire Valentine's Day 2020 - photo by Dave Robbins
Last Friday night, Madison’s Majestic Theater was turned into the House of Love when Pacific Northwest bands Joseph and Deep Sea Diver turned up the heat on a freezing single-digit Valentine’s Day, doling out locomotive vocals and firing pile-driving kindness with upbeat themes burning in tender independence. Establishing a safe zone to open the flow of emotions, both bands immediately earned the audience’s respect as couples, groups, first-timers and long-time fans made room for each other, their swaying, their camera-phones and their singing along. Filled with honest songs dressed to kill, the Majestic couldn’t help but surrender to the feverish affection generated that night.
Moving Heaven and Earth with angelic harmonies and ground-shaking beats, Joseph’s three-sister voices carried confidence inside their questions, standing their ground while charging forward. Wisely dividing their set into thirds, the band began with a front-loaded half hour packed in dramatic passion and driven by oldest sister Natalie’s brisk guitar and three non-family musicians the twins fondly called their babies. Opening with, “In My Head,” and the lines, ‘I always start at the very end,’ Joseph made every minute count from start to finish.
Letting their hair down, the middle section consisted of the three sisters on their own where they celebrated Valentine’s Day by asking the crowd their favorite love songs. An a capella rendition of Dolly Parton’s, “I Will Always Love You,” soared and snippets of Celine Dion’s, “Because You Loved Me,” and, “My Heart Will Go On,” brought de-thorned roses tossed from stage. Maria Carey’s, “Fantasy,” topped off the fun that included ace guitar shredder Jessica Dobson of Deep Sea Diver sitting in and rocking out.
Besides the crowd-sourced love songs and a sweet Tom Waits cover, Joseph focused their set-list on this year’s, “Good Luck, Kid,” and 2016’s, “I’m Alone, No You’re Not.” The final half hour reassembled the band and kept to the evening’s theme of fortified resolve and active compassion before ending with a touching story behind their lullaby, “Room For You.” “Fighter,” and Good Luck, Kid,” made an appearance as the encore and nicely summarized Joseph’s sweetness and strength.