Rei Brown & Joji @ The Crocodile in Seattle, WA
Review & photography by Jetsper Cubos
A “sold out” sign at the front doors, and you can hear the crowd chanting for Joji, as the rain patterns, and fans trying to make their way into the venue. This is his first solo show in Seattle; though not his first time in Washington. He performed alongside members of rising88; a record label that has gained popularity for their Asian artists; back in October 2018. I’d say his fanbase is extremely loyal. The crowd consisted of Joji’s merchandise on many of the fans. Everyone I talked to mention the impact his music had on them or how long they have known his work.
George Miller. Known for his comedy on YouTube, retired in 2017, and decided to take his music career seriously with a rebranding as Joji. From Australia, he would go on to produce, write, perform his own material. This led to the release of his EP, In Tongues, that hit #58 on the Billboard 200. His style of music brought in a new light for R&B. A growing fanbase from YouTube, to his singles, and EP’s… Joji left his audience wanting much more. After joining rising88 and adding to this discography, his debut album, Ballads 1 reached the top of Billboard’s Top R&B and Hip-Hop Chart in November 2018.
Stage lights, set. The audience quiets down. Rei Brown comes to the stage. Next thing I see, he has mesmerized the crowd. The audience swayed back and forth, nodding their head to beat of the music. Couples looked intimately at each other. The atmosphere of the venue was unreal, relaxing. The style of Rei Brown’s music is almost identical to Joji, very mellow, slow at times, emotional, and bittersweet. One of his last songs hits deep, “I feel so cold” as the crowd sings along.
The fans in unison called for Joji, and the little surprises, such as the floor lamp-sticks; lighting up different hues of red/teal/green, Joji projecting across two screens, and the disco-ball shining bright made it that much more exciting to see him. All the lights shut off. Fans screaming, “I love you!” or “Joji, Joji, Joji!” Lights and music both gradually start up. Gator, dramatically introduces, “Will He” as Joji came out with positive energy inviting Seattle to sing along with him for the night. He would insist his audience sing louder when he raised his mic-stand out towards the crowd. He danced, posed, took fans’ phones and recorded himself singing, and yelled out phrases like, “Unblock me bitch!” or “Fuck you!” The night consisted of songs from, Ballads 1 ranging from: “Yeah Right,” “Test Drive,” “Attention,” “Can’t Get Over You,” and “No Fun.” Including “Don’t Wanna Waste My Time” from his EP, In Tongues. The night ended how most of us would have imagined, with his hit single that has been played over 100 million times on Spotify. The crowd chanted out, “One more song!” until Joji came back out to the stage to perform, “Slow Dancing in the Dark” in both an interesting acoustic cover and the original instrumental that the fans all know and love.
It was a short concert, considering both these artists only have three EP’s and a debut album combined. Yet the feel of the event was very emotional and bittersweet from start to finish. Leaving the venue felt unreal, as rain continued to come down, finishing off the night with that strong performance from them both.