37°
UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

2-26-24 PDF
February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

Jukebox the Ghost Reminds Boston How Much Fun Live Music Can Be

There is a reason people choose to see live music, and indie-pop band Jukebox the Ghost may have captured why exactly that is. It is an unspoken promise that when going to a live show, audiences will get some form of entertainment that they can’t get just from listening to the album, and it’s something beyond just adding a visual component to the audio. Sometimes it’s the casual banter between band-mates on stage, or the information they share about the projects they’re working on that makes the night special. For Jukebox the Ghost, it is both of those things, but it is also the energy that they put into their performance on stage, met with audience reciprocation, that makes their live music somehow even better than the recorded version of the album. The essence of all that live music has to offer has been captured by Jukebox the Ghost, and then some.
The members of JTG are jacks of all trades, so the saying goes, as they all take a turn at the position of vocals. Ben Thornewill is on the keyboard, with Tommy Siegel on both guitar and bass, and Jesse Kristin on the drums.
All of that being said, it just makes sense that Jukebox the Ghost is in the process of recording their sets in order to make a live album. For their show at The Paradise Rock Club in Boston, they announced that the recording from that night might be a part of the live record project.
“I don’t know if you know this,” said Tommy Siegel, “but we’re making a live record, and who knows—maybe it could be tonight.” Boston concert-goers will have to wait and see if their experience has been incorporated into a more permanent memory of the otherwise fleeting nature of live music.
Jukebox the Ghost played their older fan-favorite songs, but they also played some of their new music. Thornewill prefaced one of their new songs with a warning, because new things are scary: “We’ve had some time off, but when bands take time off, they write songs. So we are going to play a new song. I know it’s scary…”
The best song of the night had to be the performance of “Static to the Heart,” and as the last song of their set, it is no wonder that it provoked calls for an encore. There is just something about the way the hook of the song combines the perfect balance of rhythm and expletives that really encourages audience participation. For some people, singing along to the music is why they enjoy live music in the first place, but it becomes exponentially more cathartic when singing along to the part where they swear. Designating “Static to the Heart” as the best song of the night holds more weight knowing that Jukebox the Ghost also played a couple of Queen covers.
While Ben and Tommy sing the vocals for most of the songs, they have a game they play to challenge themselves in their positions. Jukebox the Ghost has a game wheel for the songs they don’t normally play live, effectively kicking it up a notch. One of the options the wheel landed on was “Hold It In – Supreme” which was the song “Hold It In,” but everyone switched to play an instrument that they don’t normally use. Yes, this was as fun as it sounds.
One of the other options on the wheel was called “Steve’s Choice,” which wasn’t a song itself, but rather, the song would be chosen by someone in the audience named Steve. Boston concert-goers didn’t get to see what would happen if there was more than one Steve in the audience, but they did get to find out what makes a song “Supreme.”
Leaving some of the set choices up to a game of chance gave their already energetic show a sense of mystery. Jukebox the Ghost’s performance is every kind of entertainment anyone could ever want—a lot of music (obviously), a little comedy, part game-show, and a dash of mystery (but not like one of those murder mystery dinners kind of “mystery,” because this show was actually fun). Jukebox the Ghost is the full experience of live music, and fans of music anywhere should be looking out for when JTG releases their live album.