Just two months after the release of his latest album The Fall of Hobo Johnson, Sacramento native Hobo Johnson and his band The LoveMakers are now saying goodbye to the road with the last bit of their fall U.S. tour. Last week saw the genre-less collective “making their way downtown,” where Old National Centre’s Egyptian Room was treated to a high-energy weeknight show full of fun.
The first thing I found worth noting is actually about the tour in general. Hobo Johnson brought three very different supporting acts to the Hoosier State, and to me that just goes to show the care and intentionality behind everything. From the carefree but thankfully fleeting hip-hop set of Nate Curry, to the captivating soul brought forth by The Philharmonik, to the melancholic pop punk from Mom Jeans., there felt like a little bit of something for everyone. In addition to choosing a variety in styles across the tour’s support, Johnson was sure to include a couple of artists from his own hometown of Sacramento.
Of the fellow Sacramento artists on the bill, the first was largely forgettable. No doubt, opener Nate Curry was able to hype up some of the audience, but I was not one of those people. Curry and his hometown peer The Philharmonik each had fifteen minutes up on stage, and the transition between them was so brief and seamless that a casual concertgoer may have mistaken the two as the same act.
Right from the opening notes of The Philharmonik’s first song, though, there was a clear difference, not only in style but in quality also. The 24-year-old multi-instrumentalist rocked through three distinct cuts, including two from his 2018 self-titled LP and his catchy new single “Drugs,” the latter of which could pass as a musical number.
Berkeley’s Mom Jeans. served as the main supporting act, and for a band known for their “loud sad” music, the quartet possessed a rather happy-go-lucky demeanor while up on stage. They opened with the stellar 2016 jam “Death Cup,” but not long after that I was ready to see Hobo Johnson take over.
After a lengthy intermission, Hobo Johnson finally set foot on the stage, and immediately the energy in the Egyptian Room shifted. It’s always special when the headliner of the night takes the stage, but I felt like that was exceptionally true on this particular evening. Of course, Johnson had brought with him his band The LoveMakers, a full ensemble that includes both trumpet and keytar. The result was a full-blown, high-octane set that doubled as the perfect way to cap off the night, and for the vast majority of the audience, the reason why they had traveled to Old National Centre in the first place.
Johnson touched on the majority of his latest LP, including some deeper cuts and a couple of tracks from The Rise of Hobo Johnson, punctuating his set with colorful commentary and poetry slams, in spite of an at-times unruly audience. The band even found the time to squeeze in a cover of the Vanessa Carlton 2000s smash “A Thousand Miles,” having literally made their way downtown for this very show in the heart of Indianapolis.
The only song the band did not initially play that I was expecting to hear was “Typical Story,” but with the crowd clamoring for it at the end of their set, the opener from The Fall of Hobo Johnson became the perfect encore. It’s almost as if Johnson and The LoveMakers did this on purpose. Regardless of whether it was planned though, the concert served as the perfect escape from that mid-week craziness. Talk about “getting hype” on a Tuesday.