Hobo Johnson & The Lovemakers


The atmosphere in the Academy feels like we are at the Pyramid stage of Glastonbury tonight as Hobo Johnson and The Lovemakers enter the stage. I have never heard a crowd so loud. But luckily the crowd still have enough juice in their lungs to emphatically sing along with the opening song, ‘Romeo and Juliet’. Frontman Frank Lopes Jr’s trademark introverted and imperfect flow is almost completely overpowered by the huge crowd participation throughout the track.

Hobo Johnson holds the innocence and childlike sensibilities you hear from artists like Kimya Dawson, with lyrics delivered in the sporadic and passionate style of artists like Listener. There is a raw and often frantic emotion in each song and it connects with every person in attendance. ‘Sex and the City’ is played next and shows off perfectly how Frank can mix songs about his personal insecurities with his innocent humour, “Sex in the city/Candles smell like great jobs and promising careers/My candles smell like fear my roommates may hear… and socks.”

A guitar is pulled out for a solo song, without the Lovemakers. ‘February 15th (Alone Forever)’ is short but beautiful. It is my favourite song by Hobo Johnson, and my favourite of the night. The heartfelt chorus is shouted with gut wrenching desperation. It is simple, but perfectly encapsulates how much Frank bares his soul in his writing, it is painful in the best kind of way. The unpretentious lyrics display that it was written from the heart and is not just a throwaway breakup song trying to be clever. Everything Hobo Johnson performs feels like it comes from a place of true meaning.

As a side step from the album, The Rise of Hobo Johnson, we are treated to a very different piece. One about creatures who emerge from the ocean to become a society. It seems to be a quick rendition of early drafts in the musical Frank has previously stated he wants to create, all about the history of the world, mixed with a dystopian future. It seems early days for this and Frank seems to be just testing the waters of this project.

‘Peach Scone’ is the biggest crowd pleaser, impossibly the audience are louder than the start of the night. There isn’t much better to make you feel less alone than collectively sharing your fears and singing along with “And I love the thought of being with you/Or maybe it’s the thought of not being so alone.” Hobo Johnson and the Lovemakers have put on a brilliant performance and deserve the astonishingly quick rise they are seeing over the past year.

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