Emotion And Realness Take The Stage At Hobo Johnson & The Lovemakers Sold Out First Avenue Show


Sunday night’s show was one I had been looking forward to ever since it go announced. Full disclosure, I was hesitant to jump onto the Hobo Johnson & The Lovemakers train the first time I heard him. His music was quirky which is totally my thing but his audience was young which is definitely not my thing but when I saw him for the first time last October, that all changed. I became obsessed with Hobo Johnson and everything he did. The honesty and rawness he put on stage that fateful night last October instantly changed me from a passive, pessimistic concert blogger to a complete fan girl who just couldn’t get enough. To say I was excited to feel that raw emotion and scream along to every word on Sunday night is the understatement of the year.

Kicking the night off was The Philharmonik from Sacramento, CA. I instantly fell in love with all of the different influences that were so clearly heard throughout his very quick (fifteen minutes) set. The music went from funk to pop to rock to R&B with no hesitation and although all of those things shouldn’t flow easily, The Philharmonik made it happen. From what I can tell in my research this morning, The Philharmonik is just one guy but last night he was joined on stage by a stellar drummer. The amount of sound that this duo was able to produce was stunning. Had you put me in a corner without being able to see the stage, I would have absolutely put money on thinking that there was a full band on stage. I wish The Philharmonik’s set could have lasted longer but he was quickly replaced by Nate Curry.

Nate Curry only had about fifteen minutes on stage but that didn’t keep him from showing the sold out audience just how quirky he could get. Nate performed his entire set while clutching onto a small stuffed animal. From where I was standing, I really couldn’t tell what the stuffed animal was but does that really matter? I mean, this guy was up on stage wearing what looked like bright pink pajama pants while clutching a stuffed animal. Yes, quirky but the quirkiness of his appearance and overall demeanor didn’t take away from the fact that he is super talented. His set may have stood out from the others of the night since he was the sole rapper (at least in the traditional sense of the word– more on that later) but he definitely packed a punch and made an impact with the short time he was on stage. Expect big things from this man.

I’ve seen Mom Jeans. a couple of times now and although they are always a solid band, I’ve never really gotten into them as much as others (including my brother) have. That changed last night. The second this band took the stage, the atmosphere switched from just being a concert to being an absolute party. Their synchronized dance moves mixed with their upbeat pop-punk sound created the perfect atmosphere to just get completely lost in. There were many moments throughout the set where you couldn’t help but laugh out loud at some of the band’s antics on stage but, like Nate Curry, even though it was quirky and fun, there’s no denying the power this band had when it came to their music. Think early 2000’s emo music with a more modern and less cheesy twist on it, their music definitely got me in the mood for what was to come without blending into the rest of the night.

The night moved quickly both because of the fact that it was an all ages show with a strict curfew and the anticipation that everyone seemed to be feeling but as soon as headliner Hobo Johnson & The Lovemakers took the stage, it was like time stood still. As mentioned, I wasn’t a huge fan of this guy until I saw him live for the first time and everything changed. The bar was high due to that performance and I worried that he wouldn’t be able to make me feel what I felt the first time I saw him but, within the first couple of words that came out of his mouth, that worry was gone.

Frank Lopes Jr. (AKA Hobo Johnson) is one of those performers that I would kill to get a drink with but, at the same, would be absolutely intimidated by meeting. Some people call his personality quirky and his actions on stage a little weird but I find them comforting. From the act of taking his shoes off just to put them back on moments later to picking up one of the stage monitors and moving it without any noticeable reason, I was literally watching a person like me on stage. Frank openly sings about dealing with depression and anxiety but he also acts on those impulses during his live performances which adds something irresistible and painfully real about him.

The first time I saw Hobo Johnson, I was unable to sing along and really felt like I was missing out. I was able to finally sing along last night having spent the past year obsessing over Hobo Johnson’s music but the words escaped me. Majority of them were too raw for me to sing along with and, for fear of busting out in tears during the set, I just avoided singing altogether. The amount of power his words have on me and other fans is next to unfathomable and is what has made Hobo Johnson my go to when I’m having a rough day. Listening to him is one thing but watching him perform those songs that hit straight to your core is something that clearly can’t be put into words.

From the old songs to the new songs and the couple of covers thrown into the mix, every song Hobo Johnson & The Lovemakers performed was the one I wanted to hear and I wasn’t alone in that. Everybody in the crowd seemed to be having an religious experience as they either danced along to the beat or screamed along to every word. There was no denying the power and emotion that was flying through the air and, when it was all said and done and the crowd was ushered out of the venue, you could still feel the love and passion that was laid out during the set. 

Yes, I realize this blog is all over the place but I think I’m still just overwhelmed by all of the emotions that were going through my head while watching Hobo Johnson & The Lovemakers perform. If you weren’t there last night and if you can’t relate to the words that Hobo Johnson says, you’ll never understand.