After signing up for press passes for Florida Music Festival, I was contacted by a publicist asking if I wanted to cover Jocelyn & Chris Arndt, a sibling rock duo hailing from Upstate New York. As I had already planned to attend the festival with local photographer Nikki Namdar, we had both accepted to double-team the band, where I would do written coverage and she would handle photographing the band. Upon doing some research on the band, I was pleasantly surprised, as Jocelyn Arndt, the band’s lead singer, is a vocal powerhouse whose voice is reminiscent of Janis Joplin — something you wouldn’t necessarily anticipate from someone of her age and stature.
Growing increasingly excited, I sent over the YouTube videos of the band performing an acoustic session with the Jam in The Van to Nikki, and we both made our way over to Cheyenne Saloon where the band was set to play. Before the show started I snagged my interview with the band, and waited for the show to begin.
Upon first impression, the venue certainly delivered in terms of its name — it really did look like an old-timey saloon. Another great thing about the venue is that it was heavily air conditioned, which — for anyone who understands the Florida weather — is a huge plus. However, because the festival was spread out over a number of venues, both indoor and outdoor, it was pretty empty. I sat there with fingers crossed that more people would start to fill in because the band really did deserve a big audience. However, this worked out well for Nikki, as there was plenty of room for her to photograph from different angles.
The band started the show off with their lead single off of their new album Edges, “Shame”, which is a great song to show off Jocelyn’s vocal range. Slowly but surely, more people started to roam into the venue as they were electrified by Jocelyn’s voice. It’s rare that I say this, and in no way do I mean to knock the album, but the band sounded even better live in my personal opinion. That kind of raw passion is simply more noticeable in a crowded room.
Once the band got into the groove of things with the rest of their set, with hit songs like “Too Much to Me”, “Jagged”, and “Hot, it was apparent that everyone in the venue was feeling that powerful sound, and a couple of people were asking who this up-and-coming act was. Overall, the band did an excellent job of exciting the crowd and performed smoothly. There’s no doubt that Jocelyn & Chris Arndt gained some new fans after killing it at this show.