Ben Nguyen
Mercury Staff

Concert review: Hobo Johnson at House of Blues

Hobo Johnson along with Nate Curry, The Philharmonik and Mom Jeans recently  took the stage at the House of Blues in Dallas to promote his sophomore album. Filled with performances of old and new songs, Hobo Johnson provided a hype show for fans.

The openers at the Oct. 14 show provided a range of sounds before the main event, with the Philharomik’s synth-laden rants about the world being followed by Mom Jeans’ punk, and Nate Curry opening the night with a cool rap beat. While the openers were great, Hobo Johnson’s show was the main event, and a sight to behold.

The light crew at the House of Blues really outdid themselves, with the lights complimenting every song to the tee. Hobo Johnson’s music can be described as a combination of rap and spoken word, even setting up a song as a slam poetry segment before diving in. When the beat drops and the more musical part of song starts banging, the lights make Hobo Johnson and the Lovemakers look like silhouettes in pink red, or purple light. But when he makes the sharp transition into spoken word, he is illuminated as though he’s on stage, almost like a monologue in a weird Shakespeare play.

The music selection picks from old and new tracks, including a long buildup to the famous “Peach Scone” involving the mention of various other coffee shop treats. Songs from his new album “The Fall of Hobo Johnson” included “You and the Cockroach” with memorable lyrics referencing the evolution of humanity and our potential cockroach successors, and “Typical Story,” the lead single off the album. The lyrics evoke the rollercoaster of emotions that can be associated with late college — post-college life, the kind of reflection on love, life and what’s happening.

Hobo Johnson is a relatable performer. Whenever he talks between tracks, it comes off as just a guy that’s very grateful, slightly awkward and just trying to have a good time. His reflections even break through in his commentary, by saying “How’re we feeling tonight!” and then promptly mocking artists for saying it at concerts. His awkwardness shone when he relayed a story of shouting “Houston!” to a Dallas audience at the same venue, and dealing with the following crowd silence. Throughout all of it, he comes across as just a fellow member in life, trekking through much the same as us, but with a concert tour.

Overall, the concert was great, with a light show and setlist to take the audience on an amazing poetry/rap journey. Johnson ended the night with a rendition of “September” while thanking his fellow bandmates, and the night ended with a happy mood in the air.