Juice gets the High Watt grooving

The Hustler chats with the Boston septet on their origins and identity as a band before their stop at the High Watt


Brendan Sawyer and Shun Ahmed

Juice hit the High Watt to perform after the release of two new singles, “DAVE (turn the music down)” and “Audrey Tell Me” on Saturday, March 23.  Despite the potential technical difficulties that could result from squeezing seven musicians on such a small stage, they managed to get the entire crowd grooving the whole night.

Juice hails out of Boston, forming after the seven members came together during their freshman year of college. As crowds began to form and praise amounted from friends and strangers alike, the group realized that they had the potential to be more than just another college band. They found their greatest appeal to audiences was their ability to fuse genres and influences to amplify the message of each of their songs. They also find immense strength in numbers, using each of their members to maximize what their bassist Rami El-Abidin calls “music per square inch.” With two guitarists, a bassist, drummer, violinist, and three members adding vocals, they can craft a rich sound that fills every venue they hit.

“That moment of creating that big sound and combing all those influences to say something that is versatile and very poignant is something we’re always shooting for,” said Daniel Moss, one of the band’s guitarists.

This rock/ hip-hop/ R&B boy band played both covers and original songs that night. Notably, during the performance of their original song “Sugar,” the once silent room began swaying and singing.  Each member blended together to create a single masterpiece that had the entire crowd enchanted, from Ben Stevens’s and Kamau Burton’s vocals, Michael Ricciardulli’s and Moss’s guitar skills, Miles Clyatt’s drums, and El-Abidin’s bass.

While this genre-bending band causes many fans to struggle to define Juice’s sound, the group sees this as a strength rather than a weakness. The band enjoys the liberty of not being prescribed to a specific genre or “brand,” as Moss puts it. Juice has found a sound and style that is uniquely theirs, and will continue to explore this idea on their next EP, which is set to come out this year.

“Brand is fine,” Moss explained, “but identity is far more complex.”

The crowd that night seemed incapable of tiring out. Everyone continued jumping around, swinging partners around and singing every word they knew. When the set ended, the audience still hadn’t had enough of the show, demanding an encore. Juice delivered, and came back out to perform R&B twist on “Gold Digger” by Kanye West.

The band itself has incredible chemistry on stage and seemed like a tight-knit group all around.  During one significant moment in the show, Ben Stevens, Juice’s lead vocalist, introduced each member and gave them a moment to showcase their art. The entire room continued dancing and enjoying every moment of the impromptu showcase; it was hard not to. Each member was genuinely excited about their art, passion radiating from every single one of them. It’s not hard to see that that’s the same energy that drew them together as a band in 2014.

“There isn’t a whole lot of music going on at Boston College so we gradually sort of gravitated toward each other,” said Moss.

While it was both a small venue and a small crowd, the night ended with a bang. After the performance, the band immediately came out and talked with people for what seemed to be hours, making them seem less like fans and more like friends. Despite the words of Dave, this is a band you won’t want to turn the music down for.