Hobo Johnson, whose real name is Frank Lopes Jr., emerged on the hip-hop scene with a distinctive style that melded spoken word, rap, and raw emotion. Born in 1994, the artist has gained significant attention with his 2017 NPR Tiny Desk Contest submission for the song ‘Peach Scone,’ which showcased his uniquely vulnerable and frenetic delivery.
Tonight he is appearing at the Metro Theatre in Sydney. The crowd awaits his appearance with anticipation, there are banners with messages and flags. Faces beam with a raw, almost desperate excitement, eyes wide and gleaming in the half-light, hungry for the cathartic release that Johnson is known to provide.
From the moment he bounces on stage, Johnson connects with the crowd. Performing songs and sharing intimate pieces of his soul. His signature blend of spoken word and rap, delves deep into personal narratives, touching on love, mental health, and the intricacies of everyday life.
Amidst the throbbing beats and sweaty bodies, someone from the back shouts, “Do a shoey!” The chant quickly spreads like wildfire, with the crowd now unified in its frenzied request. For those unacquainted, a “shoey” is an Australian tradition (though its popularity has transcended borders) where one pours an alcoholic drink into a shoe—preferably one’s own—and then chugs it down with audacious delight. Most notable recent participant in a “shoey” has been Harry Styles.
Eventually Johnson relents, filling a boot to the brim as the crowd roars its approval. It’s one of those bizarre, unscripted moments that happens at concerts and makes live music such a blast.
Johnson will next perform in Melbourne on 17 October at the Croxton and in Adelaide at Fat Controller on 18 October.
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