As an avid music lover, I’ve witnessed more live shows than I can count. During my time going to concerts, I’ve come to realize that more often than not, bands fall into one of two categories when you put them on stage. The first type of band will get up there, play some great tunes, get the crowd moving, maybe play an encore, and will leave you feeling like you got your money’s worth. Then, there are bands like Envy.
Watching Envy perform is like grabbing a live wire with your bare hands. Their stage presence is thrilling, their chemistry is a tangible element in the air, their talent level is off the charts, and their energy is contagious. Playing a mix of modern hits, some classic/80’s rock, and a few original tunes peppered throughout to keep things fresh, Envy brings a wide range of musical variety to the stage during each and every set, and does a great job tying everything together through the simply astronomical amount of talent that each member brings to the group. From the moment Envy takes the stage and lead singer Joelle confidently steps to the mic, you know you’re in for something special. The tight guitar riffs, rhythmic bass lines, punchy drumming, and phenomenal vocal stylings of the band all come together and work in tandem with Envy’s commanding stage presence and dynamism to create a truly unforgettable evening for anybody who happens to witness them play live.
Of course, none of this came about by accident, or overnight. Like all talented artists, the members of Envy have worked long and hard to hone their craft. Frontwoman (and Gotcha Records CEO) Joelle and lead guitarist Jeff Dan have been playing together for a little over eight years now. They started off creating and playing original music, before recognizing after a few years that there was a big opportunity within the local bar scene to bring cover tunes into the mix – and just like that, Envy was born. The lineup has seen some changes over the years, but it currently consists of drummer Patrick Handlovsky and bassist Quay Evano joining the original duo of Joelle and Jeff Dan.
“We wanted to be able to offer anything to anybody that approached us,” Joelle explained to me, when I asked her how Envy came to be. “If they wanted a cover show, or an original show, or an acoustic show, we could offer that. We love what we do, we love performing both covers and originals, and people ask for both, so it’s good to be able to offer all those things.”
It’s not often you come across a band capable of such a wide stylistic range, which was something that definitely struck me while seeing Envy play live – they’d bounce from playing a contemporary chartbuster to an 80’s classic, all without losing a single audience member from the front row. This has a lot to do with the truly captivating visual performance that comes part and parcel with seeing Envy live. Over several hours and multiple sets that I saw them play, the band brought a truly unbelievable amount of performative vim and gusto to the stage, all of which combined with their raw musical aptitude to create a concert that you simply couldn’t help but enjoy.
“When you put on a show, it’s very visual,” Joelle reflected when I commented upon Envy’s clear attention to stage presence. “When I go to see a show, I look for that…it affects me. It’s important for us to give the audience a show. We really try to work hard on upping what we bring visually to each show as well.”
Envy certainly has nailed this element of their live set – I don’t know that I’ve found simply watching a band quite so enjoyable in a long while. To hear Joelle tell it, a lot of their success and current chemistry comes from playing with the right people, and working together until you get things right: “Looking back from now to when we first started, we’ve grown so much. We talk about it all the time – we’ve come a long way. You get your core group that you just click with musically and professionally and on a friendship level, and that’s when magic happens. But it takes a long time. There’s a lot that’s changed since our very first gig, which was at the Stetson with a seven-piece. (laughs) Yup, a seven piece.”
At the end of the day, though, the energy that Envy puts into doing what they do comes from a pretty humble place. It’s not about blowing up the radio charts or becoming famous; instead, it’s about supporting the music scene, and giving people a bit of a break from it all.
“The scene’s been changing,” Joelle reflected. “People were flooding places just to get in, and that’s not the case these days, unfortunately, and I think there are many reasons for that. However, I also feel that – compared to even five months ago – the bars are getting busier again. People are going out again, and they want to let loose, and they want to dance. It’s been heavy in the past few years with world events, and politics, and all that stuff, and I think people are tired of it, and I think they just want to get out and have an experience. That’s what we want to give. We want to try and give everybody an experience.” Personally, I can’t think of any better reason to get up on a stage and sing your heart out.
Envy will be performing live at Legends Kitchen and Bar, March 10 and 11. Support local live music and come check out this incredible band – you’ll be glad you did!