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Given the current chaos engulfing the country, everyone feels the need to step back and escape the madness momentarily so they can regroup. For the hundreds gathered at Montclair, New Jersey’s Wellmont Theatre last night (Feb. 7) DNCE was that escape: the embodiment of a nonstop good time.
Despite being relatively new (having formed in 2015, their debut, self-titled album dropped Nov. 18, 2016), DNCE already have a dedicated fanbase. Some of the attendees arrived at the venue at 12 in the afternoon, hoping to meet the band and get the best spots standing room has to offer -- against the barrier in front of the stage, of course.
With a largely female audience, most ranging from high school to college students, the crowd was still surprisingly varied. A sizeable amount of men -- as well as middle-aged concert-goers -- were sprawled throughout the floor and balcony. Some were parents accompanying the youngest amongst the crowd, but some were simply there to partake in the carefree atmosphere.
In a surprise for attendees, Nick and Kevin Jonas also showed up to support their brother’s hometown show -- the three former Jonas Brothers members grew up in New Jersey -- just before the group hit the stage, causing the crowd to erupt into screams. The proud brothers were absorbed in the tunes and theatrics, singing along throughout the performance.
From the moment DNCE took the stage -- decked out in Star Wars garb -- each member of the dance-rock quartet were highlighted, and remained to be throughout the show: Joe Jonas engaging the audience with his vocal range and magnetism, JinJoo Lee stunning as a badass chick giving off an edgy-flair as she rips on the guitar, Cole Whittle as an energetic goofball who somehow manages to tear it up on bass and the keys while simultaneously writhing and jumping around the stage, and drummer Jack Lawless effortlessly propelling the beat without ever missing one.
Kicking off with the “Star Wars Intro” and moving into a party-starting “Naked” the crowd was entranced before DNCE even got to their sexed-up single, “Body Moves.”
As DNCE began their pop-fused rendition of Lenny Kravitz's “American Woman,” it wasn’t just the younger crowd moving along, but a group of adults near the bar were letting loose, singing every word with smiles plastered across their faces.
Despite their obvious party vibe, the band offered some stripped down songs as well, sitting on boxes brought onstage to sing "Truthfully," "Jinx" and "Almost." Picking up the pace once more, they later played their Billboard Hot 100 top 50 track “Toothbrush” nearing the end of the set -- causing a fit of excited cries, and triggering a spontaneous make-out session for a couple by the bar.
Very briefly exiting the stage, DNCE returned and led the encore with a medley of Spice Girls’ “Wannabe” and Britney Spears’ “Oops!...I Did It Again” before breaking into their No. 9 peaking Hot 100 hit “Cake By The Ocean.”
With cheers and Queen’s “We Are The Champions” playing them out, Whittle busted out one last handstand before the foursome exited the stage, and fans flocked to the merch table and towards the buses hoping to catch one last glimpse of DNCE before staggering to their cars and re-entering the real world.
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