My peer, photographer, and friend, Francis Meng-Frecker and I arrived at Summit Music Hall last Wednesday, October 23rd, to cover and become acquainted with the music of acclaimed lyricist and band, Hobo Johnson and The Lovemakers and his opener Jeffery Lewis & Los Bolts. Frank Lopes Jr, known by his alias Hobo Johnson, and his gang take on the United States and lots of international venues across Europe and Australia on their “Bring Your Mom Tour” to promote their debut full-length album “Rise of Hobo Johnson” which was released by Reprise Records this year. Hobo Johnson and The Lovemakers made got their first big break at NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts and have been an internet sensation ever since.
All of his devoted listeners seemed to show up at the Summit in Denver, a packed house somehow knew every single lyric, leaving Hobo lost of room for pauses and interaction with his amped audience. From the very second Hobo began his set with “See You Again”, his fans lost it and this symbiotic relationship continued to liven each other till the very end of the night. Hobo Johnson performed as the perfect frontman. His lyrical timing was perfect, especially in “Dear Labels”, though his bars usually end at disjunct moments in the song, this is completely intentional and leaves the listener on edge, anticipating more. His band backed him up with ease. Using rhythmic, intelligent and sometimes soothing instrumentals; the continuity between musicians and frontman totally elevated this musical experience.
Hobo Johnson demonstrated a heightened understanding of musical composition and stage presence; the audience and band seemed to have an implicit understanding that this night was meant to share in “musical therapy”. Both band and audience collaborated in camaraderie, we felt some real heartfelt joys and sorrows to celebrate and get trashed about it. It was almost emotional honestly. Everything from Hobo’s lyrics, to the lights, and the band’s change in tempo at crucial moments was impressive and, more so, they help Hobo ignite emotions in his audience. I left Summit Music Hall that night feeling understood, feeling a sense of solidarity with the complete strangers I just moshed with; it was an intensely fun and wacky concert that I feel privileged to have attended and I plan to party with these, self-acclaimed, misfits as soon as they come back to town. I recommend everyone who loves emotion-packed music and a really good time do the same.