Liveshot: The Juniper Berries enchant, captivate with Ballroom performance

Mimi Calzada, Senior Life and Arts Reporter

Sandwiched in a line-up of intimate – yet energetic – performances, The Juniper Berries put on an outstanding show for the audience at the Ballroom at Spider House. With a disco ball spinning above them and a golden cherub watching from above, the four-piece’s energy stayed consistently high throughout their set, and they even announced a new project that generated excitement among the crowd. 

Starting the night strong with the second song off their 2020 self-titled album, the quartet opened with “Queen of Taboo,” a reflection on lost love. Lead singer Josh Stirm crooned to the audience, “I used to know you better than myself / I used to hold you closer than anyone else,” with a voice thick with emotion. Angst filled the room during the instrumental breakdowns as the band conquered the stage and prepared for a night of taking solace in their audience. 

Soon into their set, The Juniper Berries played their biggest song to date, “Putty in Yr Hands,” followed by not-yet-released “Walk Home” and a first-time announcement for their plans to unleash a brand new album called “Death & Texas.” The announcement instilled the audience with renewed energy and gave everyone a reason to celebrate late into the night. 

“That’s the first public announcement, so what happened tonight was special,” Stirm said.

The excitement from the good news carried right into The Juniper Berries’ next song, “Winning Streak,” a ballistic track in which drummer Riley Corcoran vigorously kicked over his hi-hat – which an audience member recovered. The song commanded a certain level of anger from its performers. Stirm wailed, “You’re the biggest man you could ever be / Though nobody else seems to agree / I hope you’re different now / Nobody’d put up with anything else anyhow.” 

Next on The Juniper Berries’ set came “Debt,” which comments on staying true to oneself. The crowd bumped along with the music as a profound message washed over them, “Better to fall into debt with what you love / Than to fall in love and start to regret it.” Seemingly nobody in the room regretted the decision to go out that night. 

Nearing the end of their set, the Berries made good use of the single they dropped back in January called “My Ambition.” One of the band’s more upbeat tracks – despite its occasionally somber lyrics – the song served as a preferable entree to the dessert of one last not-yet-released track called “Stephanie.” The momentum of the show grew steadily throughout the night and reached a peak when the band gave their all in the last song. Halfway through the anthem, the band went completely silent in a hilariously synchronized pause to sip from their refreshing beers before relieving the anticipation in the room, bringing their performance to a satisfying close.