Jonny Craig’s name is one on the lips of so many people and it’s fair to say that over the past few years his name has been plastered across most publications. He’s been in and out of rehab, kicked out of both of his prior bands – Emarosa and Dance Gavin Dance - alongside fleecing fans to fuel his drug addiction. But fortunately after a stint in rehab (which hopefully will be his last) he’s back on his own to perform his solo show.
Tonight’s three acts are some what of a mixture. First up is rapper Dae Bryson, who must be a friend of Jonny’s as the man himself spends Dae’s whole set sat at the back on a Macbook playing his backing tracks. Dae has the bare bones and basics of a good rapper down but his stage presence isn’t quite enough for a crowd who are there to see someone like Jonny Craig. He’s a polite guy and trying to win over the crowd keeps his banter to a minimum and pushes out a few tracks. It’s sad to say though tonight’s crowd just aren’t really interested.
Second up tonight is acoustic guitar playing, black-rimmed glasses wearing singer Ed Tullett. His music has a soft indie edge, but as he sits strumming his guitar and singing away you’d be forgiven for thinking that he played one extremely long song rather than numerous different tracks. It’s the sort of music that would be perfect as background music whilst you’re trying to fall asleep but in a small packed venue in the middle of London it just doesn’t fit. If you love chilled out acoustic music though you might want to check Ed out!
As the clock strikes 9.30 it’s the time that everyone’s been waiting for. It’s Jonny Craig time. Regardless of the shit he’s been through, the problems he’s found himself in and the fans he’s mistreated nothing seem else seems to matter tonight. Everybody is here for one reason and one reason alone and that’s because of Jonny’s undeniably distinctive and mesmerising voice. Years upon years of prior alcohol and illegal substance abuse may have affected Johnny’s brain but fortunately it hasn’t touched his beautiful raspy voice.
His stage presence may not quite be the same now he’s sober, but as he moves around it’s clear his voice is the only thing anyone cares about. Dae spends his entire set alongside him pushing the button on backing tracks or playing the guitar alongside and it’s beautiful to see Jonny in a setting where the music is the only thing on his mind. His raw raspy vocals gets the crowd screaming back when he blasts through tracks such as ‘7AM, 2 Bottles And The Wrong Road’ and ‘I Still Feel Her, Part III’ whilst some new material such as ‘Nothing Ever Will’ gives the audience a little insight into what’s next for Jonny. As the man himself says now he’s out of rehab his music isn’t suddenly going to become positive and happy as he will always write music about what he knows. Therefore his music will always revolve around drugs, relationships and music.
His cover of The Weeknds hit ‘Rolling Stone’ may take a few attempts due to Dae’s guitar playing but once it gets going really hit’s a spot with the crowd. Whilst the night ends on his cover of Justin Timberlake’s ‘Cry Me A River’, which is truly the crowning moment of tonight’s set.
Whatever you think of Jonny Craig as a person- and some people have some strong views- there is no denying that his voice is one of a kind and if Johnny can manage to stay sober and out of trouble he’s sure to have a very long musical career.
Written by Rhian Westbury
Photos by Mike White