Joy Crookes danced, laughed and, most importantly, flawlessly sung her way through the opening night of her debut album tour at Brighton’s Concorde 2
Image: Bethany-Jo O’Neill
Saturday night saw Joy Crookes kicking off the tour for her debut album, Skin, at Brighton’s Concorde 2 – what a way to start.
The evening began with the incredibly talented Ego Ella May whose enchanting voice was partnered perfectly with a lone keyboardist. It was beautiful to see May so immersed in her songs through the almost hypnotic nature of her hand movements. One of the highlights of the set was May’s new single, ‘YoYo,’ which demonstrated an impressive range and engaging beat which thoroughly warmed up the appreciative crowd for the main act.
The cheers that erupted the second Joy Crookes entered the stage put a smile on the face of every person in the venue, but most notably on Crookes’ herself. Whilst performing ‘Trouble’ towards the beginning of the set, almost every step Crookes took garnered rapturous applause. When the singer noticed the crowd were singing along to the track, she encouraged them to be louder; a common theme of the evening.
The singer seemed shocked at the reception she was receiving, but it truly was thoroughly deserved
At this point in the night, Crookes declared: “This is nuts. This is the first night of my tour, I was not prepared. This is insane.” The singer seemed shocked at the reception she was receiving, but it truly was thoroughly deserved.
Crookes’ guitarist very nearly stole the show during ‘Wild Jasmine’ with his astounding technical ability, however, Crookes got in on the action just in time, donning a guitar herself for ‘Poison,’ to which the crowd of course went wild for.
A sequence of slower songs in the set allowed for a nice change of pace. ‘Don’t Let Me Down’ had the whole crowd singing along, but not quite loud enough for Crookes. Just when I thought the assembled chorus could not get any louder, the singer managed to encourage just that. Title track ‘Skin’ also got a similar reaction.
As the pace ramped back up, the crowd were delighted to hear Crookes’ impressive medley cover of Kendrick Lamar’s ‘Yah/Element,’ even if the singer first had to make sure the young ears at the front of the crowd were suitably shielded.
The only boos of the evening arrived when Crookes attempted to say that ‘Feet Don’t Fail Me Now’ would be her last song. As good as this track is, and as flawlessly as Crookes performed it, the calls for an encore were deafening.
“One more song. One more song.”
Dutifully, Crookes returned to the stage and treated the adoring crowd to not one, not two, but three more songs.
Crookes sat at the piano for the first time in the evening to perform the beautiful ‘Theek Ache.’ The opening chords harkened to Bill Withers’ ‘Lean On Me,’ but there was definitely no disappointment that this was a Crookes original instead because it allowed for a more vulnerable side of the singer’s musicality to be displayed.
Reminisce is exactly what the crowd did as they matched Crookes beat for beat and note for note
Crookes ended her set with two real crowd pleasers. ‘Two Nights’ is a fan favourite from the singer’s 2019 EP Reminiscence. Reminisce is exactly what the crowd did as they matched Crookes beat for beat and note for note.
The real closer of the night was of course radio hit, and my current choice for song of the year, ‘When You Were Mine.’ The number of people still singing the track’s brass hook whilst meandering down the length of Madeira Drive after the show proved Crookes’ instructions to, “keep dancing, keep enjoying yourselves,” were readily taken on board.
Part way through the night, whilst wishing a fan who had just turned 21 happy birthday, Crookes herself mused how she turned 21 whilst in lockdown. At just 23 now, Joy Crookes really is just getting started. The repertoire and following she has already amassed, alongside a mesmerising stage presence and infectious personality, highlight just how exciting a career is ahead for the singer.
Skin is available now via Insanity Records.