Last night, Jack Johnson graced the Hammersmith Apollo for the first of a two-night, sold out stint. The night kicked off in a suitably chill, rhythmic fashion with Dub outfit Hollie Cook. Urging the crowd to dance along to ‘warm up’, her and backing band General Roots cruised through originals and covers, moving from start to finish. Jack’s entrances was met by thunderous applause. The simple set up of the four-piece works well, embracing the country feel of opener Mudfootball. Sitting, Waiting, Wishing breezed in on a wave of crowd vocals.
The solo cameras centred on each member of the band added to moments such as the honky-tonk piano solo in their song, helping the emphasise the musicians abilities. ‘We’ll be taking requests tonight’ Jack says ‘remind me again later’. Joking or not, he launched into fan favourite Flake. Visuals of ocean life accompanied the song, adding to its dreamy quality. Clap-alongs and sultry lights elevate One Step Ahead, as well as Bubble Toes, both of which were known inside and out by the fans. Upside Down came as a midpoint surprise, Jack showing off some of his finest acoustic guitar skills and a four-point harmony gracing the bridge.
‘We gotta save a couple of those till later’ Jack said upon seeing signs made by people in the front row. ‘I’ve seen what happens. People make out and then go home.’ Instead, he went into Middle Man, a deep cut off of his seminal debut. He playfully mixed it with Pink Floyd’s Breathe, before jumping straight back into his own number. After the song Jack told the story of how David Gilmore came to see them at the Apollo years before, and then finally opened up the show to requests, the first of which was Go On. ‘I love giving my band a pop quiz’.
‘What has become of me?’ A member of the stage crew brought on a selection of bottles, ready for Jack to play. New song Costume Party doesn’t quite live up to the story surrounding the bottles, but it’s still an entertaining time. Constellations and Breakdown mellowed out the crowd, just in time for Jack to reintroduce Hollie Cook to the stage for a cover of The Shangri-Las’s Remember (Walking in the Rain). Things ended fittingly with banana pancakes, Jack and the band seeming happy to finish on was is his biggest hit, as well as throwing in a Sex Pistols cover to boot. Certainly a crowd-pleasing affair.
Sitting, Waiting, Wishing
One Step Ahead
Shot Reverse Shot
You and Your Heart
Willie Got Me Stoned and Stole All My Money
Do You Remember
I Got You
Remember (Walking in the Rain) (The Shangri-Las’s Cover, with Hollie Cook)
Pretty Vacant (Sex Pistols Cover)
Writer and Musician, Ryan Bulbeck has been published with a number of online publications, and has worked with a myriad of great artists, both as a performer, and as a producer. His most recent band The 295 are still active, playing shows around the UK.