By: Tom Partington
The first moment of a Jocelyn Arndt performance is probably the most striking for those who have never her heard her live. The first few verses and choruses play through in a typical club band style; a full sound, a decent groove. But during those first few minutes of music, the young woman fronting the band unleashes such a powerful range of emotion, intensity, and power, it’s truly jaw-dropping. In fact, looking around the room you could see people in the audience do just that – look at each other in disbelief. After a smooth, professional segue into another song, Ms. Arndt addressed the audience with demure, almost bashful personality that was charming, and completely at odds with the fierce, fearless performance we had just witnessed.
Jocelyn Arndt’s voice shows versatility – veering from soulful interpretation, to folk-influenced tones, and more often than not, flat out, uncompromising rock. There is a a depth to her singing that was only occasionally displayed. This was because for the majority of the time, unfortunately, the stage volume consistently remained at one level — leaving her no room to use any dynamics for effect. The drummer, an adept rock drummer, was simply not versatile or musically sensitive enough to complement the blues/jazz/funk moments. When the band was playing an up-tempo funk rock tune, it worked well and recalled some of Austin’s best indy bands from the late ’90s.
It was during the final portion of the set when it all snapped together, when the band played several tracks from their upcoming EP. At this point, everything immediately sounded well-rehearsed, each part fit well, and the band grooved hard, with energy. Every one of these songs sounded original and exciting. This would be enough for most artists, but she has so much more nuance in her music and singing that was aching to be complemented by an equally nuanced and versatile band. It’s clear that Jocelyn Arndt has much to offer and this is just the beginning. We’ll be watching and waiting eagerly.