Sunday, 23 September 2012

Joe Brooks O2 Academy Islington London

Chatting with Joe Brooks in London
On the 21st of September singer/song-writer Joe Brooks returned to London for a highly anticipated show after touring countries such as South Korea and America for a long time. The O2 Academy in Islington is a great venue with an 800 person capacity and a high ceiling that produces excellent acoustics for a considerably intimate gig. I arrived a little late to the venue but caught the second half of Tyrone Wells' set. Tyrone comes from Washington and although I had not specifically followed his music before I did recognise a few songs as he has been frequently featured in television shows such as Grey's Anatomy, One Tree Hill and The Vampire Diaries. It was clear that he has had a lot of experience in front of an audience because he had the ability to captivate everyone not only with his charming music, but also his story-telling in between songs. Personally, I think the highlight of his set was when he asked the audience to remain silent whilst he sang without the microphone. The created an amazing atmosphere and the whole crowd fell silent (with exception to an incredibly rude guy who shouted in the middle but then received death glares) as they listened to Tyrone's impressive vocals. I always love how concerts can bring a crowd of 800 people of different ages, genders and backgrounds together to share a love for music and in that moment, it feels like everyone is equal.

Hugging Joe Brooks after his set
As Tyrone departed the stage, I was left exhilarated and ready to get caught up all over again in the music. The stage was decorated with bulbs hanging from the ceiling and an antique rug on the floor which was fitting for the British, home-coming theme. Joe took to the stage and opened with his new song 'Till My Heart Stops Beating'. He played the acoustic guitar and was accompanied by drums and the keyboard. I had a good view of the whole stage and thoroughly enjoyed singing along and dancing, beaming every time I hear an introduction to my favourite Joe Brooks songs. Along with his well-known tracks such as 'Green Eyes', 'Kaleidoscope' and 'I Find the Light in You', Joe did some covers including 'Cough Syrup' by Young The Giant, 'Come Together' by The Beatles and a Jessie J medley. The passion and soul throughout the whole show was overwhelming and it has been a very long time since I have seen an artist get so lost in his love for music and performing. The emotion in the way Joe sang and played his music was echoed by the audience even in songs that many had not heard before such as 'Carousel' and 'Oh Toronto' which are from his upcoming record 'The Boy with the Broken Machine'. When Joe performed 'Holes Inside' (which he proudly told us went to Number One in South Korea) and everybody joined to sing the line "sometimes fate and your dreams will collide" it was clear by his expression that he loved being home in the UK very much and was as happy to see us as we were to see him. After the show, I was fortunate enough to meet the talent that I had just seen on stage only to find out that Joe is an extremely nice guy to talk to as well. His Southampton accent had elements of American creeping in which I guess is expected seeing as he lives in Los Angeles now and he spends a lot of time with his American band. I had a fantastic, unforgettable night and if you ever get the chance to hear this boy's vocals live you must not pass the opportunity.

If you follow me on twitter ( @heyitselliejay ) you were probably expecting an interview with previous Artist Of The Week Tom Mann, but unfortunately he could not make it down to the show however, never fear, I have been promised a written interview in the not too distance future so keep checking back!

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