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DNCE takes Hofstra's Fall Fest 2018 by storm

DNCE takes Hofstra's Fall Fest 2018 by storm

Colorful lights shined brightly over a crowd of hundreds of Hofstra students, friends and families as they waited anxiously for this year’s Fall Fest headliner to take the stage. With recording phones in hand and faces glowing with excitement, the sea of bodies pushed toward the stage to welcome DNCE, the main act they’d all been waiting for.  

DNCE came about in 2015, the brainchild of front man Joe Jonas and drummer Jack Lawless. The two were rooming together when the idea of a band came to mind, but they had to postpone their aspirations e idea due to busy schedules. It wasn’t until 2015 that the project was pursued seriously, with the two adding guitarist JinJoo Lee and bassist and keyboardist Cole Whittle to the group. The name “DNCE” was meant to reflect a moment of inebriation in which spelling the word “dance” would prove to be too difficult – in other words, you’d be having such a good time watching DNCE that articulation would became secondary.

After several performances kept on the down-low in New York City, the band’s inaugural single “Cake By The Ocean” dropped in September 2015, eventually obtaining four-time platinum status. This year marks their third anniversary as a group, a journey that Jonas describes as a “whirlwind.”

DNCE’s latest release, an EP called “People to People,” came out in June of this year, featuring the band’s signature pop sound with more layered cuts. “We wanted to showcase a lot more of the instruments,” Jonas said, “and show that serious side [of] us that maybe you don’t get to see very often.” The infectious “Lose My Cool” is emblematic of the group’s playful rock aspirations, complete with a catchy “uh-huh” refrain. While only four tracks in length, the EP is reminiscent of bottled-up escapism. “Man on Fire” sounds at times reggae and at times like a 90’s punk band, a call to the group’s versatile soundscape. 

Since the band’s formation, their live performances have been the subject of buzz for fans and critics alike; everyone interested in catching a glimpse of what former Disney heartthrob Joe Jonas is capable of, alongside his new bandmates.

For this year’s Fall Fest, DNCE provided the perfect amount of nostalgia with a breath of fresh air, all wrapped up into a performance that tested the boundaries of rock music. The band has broken through all the noise of the industry as a voice that says, “We’re just here to have some fun.”

As the band took the stage, their warmth and passion for performing their catchy, up-beat tunes were palpable. Jonas moved with animation from one side of the stage to the other as Lee and Whittle strummed their strings, blew kisses and made faces at the bouncing crowd. Upstage, Lawless pounded on his set, his long hair flying in a messy halo around his head as he kept the people moving and their hearts pumping loud in their chests.

Throughout the performance, DNCE showcased an incredibly positive repertoire, with songs that evoked sexiness like “Naked” and “Toothbrush” from their self-titled debut album and their sultry cover of Sir Rod Stewart’s 1978 classic “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?” that absolutely electrified the crowd.

The band emitted an infectious energy to which the crowd quickly responded. A fan threw a bra toward the stage and Whittle whipped it through the air. Jonas dove beneath the drum kit to fetch his fallen microphone, and Lawless dried his sweaty head on a T-shirt that was flung into the crowd. DNCE’s performance was absolutely filled with excitement – the band’s passion for music and for their fans was evident.

DNCE ended the night with an encore that had the entire crowd screaming at the top of their lungs as they sang their 2015 smash hit “Cake by the Ocean.” Young and old alike shouted the lyrics back at Jonas and his bandmates as they moved to the sexy rhythm that echoed across the campus. Before exiting the stage, JinJoo took a sip from a water bottle before dousing the front row in a shower of cool water with an elegant arc of her arm.

As the fireworks that conclude Fall Fest boomed in the distance in every shade and hue, DNCE ended their show, taking a bow and flashing the crowd with four glowing smiles before they gracefully sauntered offstage. 

But fans won’t have to wait too long for new material from the band. “We’re constantly writing and recording,” Jonas said of the group’s future. “We go where the wind takes us, and make sure we get to play as many shows as we can.”

The band’s electric presence on stage is obvious, a live performance built on the foundations of classic pop artists like Prince and Electric Light Orchestra, two of the group’s idols. In addition to their love of touring, the group also has their eyes on future collaboration. “We [want to] do something with OutKast,” Cole said, adding that the group would enjoy working with any producer “who has ever even seen Tom Petty.” With their roots deeply ingrained in the history of rock and the forward-thinking pop of today, much more is sure to come from DNCE.

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