Tennessee-based husband-and-wife duo Johnnyswim and their band were all dressed in black on the BMI Stage this afternoon. Though they were on the little stage at the big festival, their stomping folk rock was energetic enough to not get buried under the sonic debris from the surrounding juggernauts. Throughout the show, Amanda Sudano and Abner Ramirez tried (and succeeded) to get sing-alongs of simple choruses packed with “oh oh ohs” going from their audience.
While they sometimes followed the format — with elements like that surefire clap-along creating combo of kickdrum and tambourine, cutesy mid-song back and forth baked into songs, and the “I love you, and were going to be together forever” lyrics you might expect from a young folk band — they also had some surprises up their sleeves.
Ramirez sang a verse or two in Spanish and proved he can channel Frank Ocean just as well as the Lumineers with a soulful solo acoustic performance on “Pay Dearly.”
Sudano charmed and amused with stories behind the songs and jokingly invited fans to join the band on tour. “We have a small minivan, but lots of snacks.” Introducing “Live While We’re Young” she explained her opposing interpretation of YOLO. “I think if there’s weird-looking meat, you shouldnt eat it — YOLO. No one has time for diarrhea.”
The sun finally came out as the band was closing with a disco-y cover of Britney Spears’ “Till the World Ends.” “You no longer have to remain still,” Ramirez said. The crowd agreed and finished out the show with feet moving.
The band has a Christmas EP due out Nov. 11.