On Sunday, I went to The Garage in Islington to see Joe Conaboy’s first ever headline gig. After interviewing the singer songwriter last month, I was really excited to hear more of his solo material and the covers he had to offer.
I had a meet and greet ticket for the gig so got to meet Joe beforehand. He was super lovely as usual and whilst he was trying to put on a brave front, you could tell that he was feeling the nerves somewhat.
We were treated to three support acts to warm up the crowd. Firstly was Matt DeFreitas, a singer songwriter who is also one-third of the band Cahoots. He sang a mixture of original songs and covers which went down really well with the crowd. His cover of Maroon 5’s She Will Be Loved was really enjoyable as was his original song Passenger.
Next up were pop punk band Waiting For Hollywood. They were such a polar opposite act to Matt, as their music was quite heavy but extremely good nonetheless. The most bizarre moment for me was their cover of I Just Can’t Wait To Be King from The Lion King. On paper, it should have been disastrous but to my surprise it actually worked so well! Other stand out moments included their cover of 5SOS’ She Looks So Perfect and their original song This Town.
The last support act was singer Josh Taylor who performed his own material. Josh is a very passionate performer and wouldn’t be out of place on a West End stage. His music is extremely catchy, with songs like Back to Bed and Night to Party still stuck in my head. Another great song of his was Feeling Stronger which sounded really anthemic.
Finally it was time for the main man, Joe Conaboy to perform to the sold out crowd. Together with guitarist Brad Pearce and drummer Jay Bonney, Joe opened with a song called Swinging which set the tone nice and loud for the rest of the night. Giving us a quick breather, Joe slowed the music down a little with a cover of James Bay’s Move Together.
Next, Joe performed one of the biggest crowd hits, a cover of Naive. His voice suits the song so much, it’s by far my favourite cover of his! He also demonstrated his brilliant song writing skills by performing an original called Me and You.
One of the best crowd reactions was reserved for Joe’s cover of Drag Me Down – a brilliant song made even edgier by Joe. You could see his confidence grow with every song and the fantastic support from the crowd sure helped with that! Joe continued with a cover of Frank Ocean’s Thinking About You, a song which showed off a different side to his voice as a lot of the chorus was sung in falsetto.
Joe really got into his own during the last few songs as the music took a heavier turn. Covers of This Ain’t A Scene and Out of The Black were massive crowd pleasers despite being much rockier than what a lot of the audience were used to. It’s fascinating to see the change in Joe’s music since being a solo artist. Having supported him since his boyband days, it’s still quite surreal to hear him cover a Royal Blood song but this genre of music actually suits him perfectly. It’s great to see him so happy performing the type of music that he really enjoys.
To finish his show, Joe performed another original song called The Cure. This song clearly means a lot to Joe and is based on very personal events in his life. The lyrics were very poignant and you could see the emotion coming through.
I was completely blown away by how good Joe’s gig was. I have seen him perform as a soloist before however this gig was in another league! Joe made sure that he met everyone after the gig and was genuinely grateful for everyone’s support. It was also so nice to see that a few of his old band mates came to support him.
His original music definitely struck a chord with me. He is a great songwriter and I can’t wait to hear more of his music. Joe is definitely one to watch for the year ahead – he has such a bright future ahead of him! Check out Joe on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.