Intro for Context
There’s one thing in particular to love about the current state of today’s music industry. Say what you want about the quality of songs being created and say what you will about the messages behind the content being distributed. Hand’s down the best component of the music industry today is being front row to witnessing an up and coming artist become a viral success. They start out like all of us, with little to no recognition behind their name, to swiftly embarking on their first cross country tour.
In this day and age, once you’ve hit “virality”, literally millions of people are now aware of not only you and your brand, but your message. The cherry on top is that the audience, now more than ever, can experience the journey with the artist. First you’re watching a youtube video of a live performance in what looks to be the “kick it spot” to attending a damn near sold out show of theirs just months after finding out who they were. As Frank would say, “It blows my MIND!”
In my first meeting with Annie going over the direction for the site, we discussed the freedom to write about artist who ventured outside of the realms of the metal and punk genres. Amidst the names and genres being thrown around the table, we found ourselves entangled in the topic of Hobo Johnson. After asking Annie if she had heard about him, she replied with, “Oh yeah! He’s coming here to perform on the 16th. Did you want to cover that show?”
“Fuck yes” – Emeri Devante
So now, here’s the “Into The Pit with Annie” recap of the Las Vegas leg of Hobo Johnson’s 2018 Tour.
Vinyl, located in the Hard Rock Resort and Casino, is a dream venue for any budding artist showcasing their first time in Las Vegas.
The Sacramento based artist, Frank Lopes, better known by his stage persona, Hobo Johnson, had assembled a viral buzz so impactful that it resulted in him and his band, The Lovemakers, selling out over a dozen venues on their first tour run. Upon entering Vinyl, we were pumped and utterly impressed by the turn out of the Las Vegas first timer. In our initial glance it seemed the crowd was swimming with sleeveless hoodies and cat ears. Annie made an astute observation of the demographics in attendance.
“It was an amalgamation of hipsters, boy band fans, boyfriends forcibly accompanying, and eclectic metal-heads and rockers alike.” – Annie
Fellow Sacramento based recording artist and record producer, The Philharmonik, kicked off the night with a booming first round of sonic entertainment. This would be the 2nd show of his own cross country tour promoting his self-titled project. After a soulfully delivered performance, The Philharmonik’s set ended with his regional hit, “Mama’s House” featuring the man himself, Hobo Johnson. By the completion of the performance the two artist were in acquisition of a mutual experience only dreamt of by millions of young independents.
Accompanying Hobo Johnson for the entirety of tour schedule was the 2nd act of the evening, San Diego based recording artist and pianist, Ashe. The young vocalist was tastefully dressed in a what you could compare to a Stevie Knicks outfit specifically made for a Dukes of Hazard episode. Her attire in tandem with her sultry vocal performance undoubtedly captured the vibe of the venue. She opened with a softly crooned cover rendition of the timeless classic, “Pure Imagination”.
It seems like many of us, Ashe was captivated by the mystic of Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory movie as well. Ashe eloquently performed her setlist showcasing songs from her latest release, The Rabbit Hole. She also expressively treated the listeners to a couple new records which went over really well. After a stellar performance from top to bottom where she claimed, “We’re all just wingin’ it”, Annie and I made an effort to wing it up with Ashe for a merchbooth “selfie” after her set. The results of that selfie are below!
In much anticipated fashion, it was time for the main act of the night, Hobo Johnson and The Lovemakers. Unseen before by any Vegas crowd, Hobo Johnson took to the mic and started the main event. The self proclaimed “stunt puller from birth” opened the show off stage and amped up the venue by bumping the Space Jam anthem, “Are You Ready For This?”. This took Annie and I by surprise as I’m sure it did everyone else in attendance. What was very evident in that moment was that we were on the cusp of experiencing something legendary. Hobo began to announce each member of the band with the vocal swag of a NBA announcer and called for each of The Lovemakers to hit the stage. Each would enter throwing red roses to the unsuspecting members of the audience which became a “you had to be there moment” in my book. The sincerity of the group’s gesture was the ideal first impression for a young band performing in Las Vegas for the first time, especially for an all ages show.
From past experiences, being apart of an all ages crowd is an awkwardly beautiful thing. The older generation becomes immersed in the hilarious absurdness of die-hard fandom while the future music lovers accompanying their parents are dispersed amongst them. The musical atmosphere gave me the feeling of laying on a carpet listening to sultry ballads on vinyl with a slight, satyrical tone.
The melodious young musicians started the show with a musical plea of a pseudo love story written by Hobo Johnson, “Romeo and Juliet.” The overwhelming crowd participation fueled the spastic movements of pure energy Hobo Johnson is adored for. Johnson’s fixated gaze on members of the crowd reflected the genuine intentionality of every lyric written and delivered.
Record after record, The Lovemakers remained in musical sync with their maestro for their segment on stage. During a band break, Hobo strolled in front of the stage’s keyboard and went into a more intimate vibe as members of The Lovemakers band took their leave. Johnson took that moment to allow his lyrics and the music to converge together in his being and displayed it for the room without restraint. For the most loyal Hobo Johnson fan, you were a passenger on Frank’s, unfiltered emotional rollercoaster..
Hobo played his last chord of the night and the room quickly filled with the verbal thunder of an emotionally sanctified audience.
Whether or not you were an official Hobo Johnson fan at the beginning of the show, you left that night harboring an emphatic compassion for the musical stylings of The Lovemakers, the lyrical deliverance of Hobo Johnson, and undying respect for the guy behind the persona.
Photo’s of Hobo Johnson taken by: @mackhpro
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