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Thursday, November 30, 2023
<div dir="ltr">Charlene Joan (left) plays at the Civic Media Center on Sunday accompanied by guitarist Josh Gigantelli (right).</div>
Charlene Joan (left) plays at the Civic Media Center on Sunday accompanied by guitarist Josh Gigantelli (right).

Thirty people gathered at the Civic Media Center on Sunday for good music and home-grown plants. 

The room filled with an eclectic array of music from experimental punk-electronic artist Farquaad, pop-punk band The Real You and Tampa-based singer-songwriter Charlene Joan.

Joan, 24, was accompanied by guitarist Joshua Gigantelli on The Beloved Tour, an 11-day tour across Kentucky, Louisiana and Florida, with Gainesville’s show being the final one.

Joan said whether she’s playing her acoustic set or with her full band, which includes Gigantelli and two other musicians, she classifies her sound as a combination of indie-pop, soul and bluegrass.

“The major themes I’ve articulated in my music are purpose, belonging and love,” Joan said. “And not love in the romantic sense, but in a bigger picture sort of way.”

Joan said she tries to relate to her audience and make them feel seen and loved.

“I hope that by being vulnerable for the 25 minutes I’m onstage, that someone will walk away feeling encouraged on inspired,” Joan said. “I hope that by sharing who I am through my music, it will spark a desire in someone’s heart to express themselves however they need.”

Twenty-one-year-old UF telecommunication major Paige Arneson was at the show because she was familiar with the other two acts of the night: experimental punk-electronic artist Farquaad and pop-punk band The Real You.

“I had never heard of Charlene [Joan] before, but right when I heard her begin to cover the song ‘Paul’ by Big Thief she blew me away,” Arneson said. “Her vocal range is so incredible and her stage presence is so engaging.”

She said the show itself was “special” despite all three acts having differing sounds.

“By the end of the night, it was obvious [the performers] had formed a bond,” she said. “That’s the cool thing about music — its almost magical ability to always bring people together.”

The part of the night which stood out to Arneson was when some audience members began moshing during The Real You’s set.

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“At shows like that, the crowds are super intimate,” she said, “So seeing strangers with shared interests come together is always a treat. And I’m sure it was super special for The Real You to see this as well … It’s obvious that doing live shows is something they love to do.”

Joan, who began performing her original music in 2017, also enjoys the sense of community live shows bring.

“I don't think songs are meant to only be written in a dark room all alone,” Joan said. “They are gifts that are meant to be shared with the world. These songs are opportunities to remind people that we are connected, that we're not really all that different.”

Both Charlene Joan and The Real You were selling merchandise at the show, and Joan was giving away free home-grown plants to anyone who bought something from either artist.

“I grow succulents at home and propagate my plants,” she said. “I wanted to come up with something creative to add to my merch table before tour.”

Charlene Joan will be releasing a new single, which was previewed at Sunday’s show, in December.

Upcoming performances at the Civic Media Center can be found through its website.

Charlene Joan (left) plays at the Civic Media Center on Sunday accompanied by guitarist Josh Gigantelli (right).
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