REVIEW: Joseph concludes first leg of ‘Good Luck, Kid’ tour at the Fillmore

Joseph, Meegan Closner, Allison Closner, Natalie Schepman, Good Luck Kid

Joseph performs at the Fillmore in San Francisco on Oct. 20, 2019. Photos: Steve Carlson.

SAN FRANCISCO — Sister trio Joseph blasted through a blistering set of rousing harmony-driven tunes to conclude the first leg of its tour supporting new album Good Luck, Kid at the Fillmore on Sunday. The Portland, Oregon band, backed by three other musicians, swiftly transitioned from one anthemic cut to the next with momentum that comes only after much repetition.

Twins Allison and Meegan Closner, and their older sister, Natalie Schepman, were a three-woman tag team, taking turns in singing lead and supporting each with beautiful harmonies. From the moment the sisters took the stage and kicked into “In My Head”—with Allison on lead and Natalie on a cherry red Gibson SG guitar—the sisters were synched up with each other and the band, which provided instrumentation to keep the show moving forward without stealing any of the attention away from the sisters.

Following the folky “Canyon,” which was topped by a harmonized scream by all three sisters, Meegan took charge on “Green Eyes,” while Natalie pranced around the stage with her guitar. “Half Truths,” about Allison Closner’s experiences with facing anxiety, gave her one of her powerhouse solo moments. The three briefly embraced before “Lifted Away,” which led into fan favorite “SOS.” “Presence,” meanwhile, stood out for its darker, bluesy undercurrent.

Joseph, Meegan Closner, Allison Closner, Natalie Schepman, Good Luck Kid

Joseph performs at the Fillmore in San Francisco on Oct. 20, 2019.

Joseph dedicated “Side Effects” to the sisters’ parents, who were in the house and celebrating their 35th wedding anniversary. The meditative tune featured the twins singing in unison, while “Revolving Door” was another standout song for Meegan’s powerhouse pipes.

“White Flag” was the predictable highpoint of the show. Fans clapped along to band’s biggest song. The sisters followed with intensifying intimacy by playing “Without You,” “I Don’t Mind” and “Room For You” without accompaniment. The passion and strain on Schepman’s face as she delivered the signature solo part on “Without You” was palpable.

For the encore, Joseph broke out the two most raucous songs from Good Luck, Kid: “Fighter” and the electro-rock title track, ending the show with an emphatic exclamation point.

Los Angeles quintet Run River North used its opening slot to show the band’s evolution. After starting out as a folk-rock band and transitioning to a poppier direction, this current incarnation proved to be more influenced by garage rock. Vocalist Alex Hwang has gone through the biggest transformation, coming into his own as a frontman by way of, say, Jeff Rosenstock.

He danced, swiveled around, and scream-sang, adding a jagged dimension to the band’s overall sound. Originally wearing several layers, he stripped through a seven-song set, first losing an overcoat, then a hoodie, and finally his T-shirt. Alex Hwang has been working out.

Run River North

Run River North performs at the Fillmore in San Francisco on Oct. 20, 2019.

Between tunes, Hwang shared stories, both heartwarming and self-deprecating. He seemed genuinely bummed at the beginning that the Fillmore’s chandeliers were turned off. “It’s cool,” he said, strongly implying with body language that he’d prefer to see them lit, until he got his wish.

While the band has gone through several lineup changes in the last three years, keyboardist Sally Kang, guitarist Daniel Chae and two other members held down the fort on songs like “Wake Up” and the euphoric “I’m Amazing,” one of numerous new songs. Another new song—Hwang didn’t introduce most of these other than saying, “If you’ve never heard of us, this is just another song”—was a fun, messy rocker with punk undertones. “Okay Cool” had a Southern gothic synth undertone set against an alt-pop dance melody.

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