Less than a year since his showcase in Esplanade, British singer-songwriter Joe Brooks was back in Singapore, playing to another sold-out intimate crowd, this time in TAB on Oct 20, as part of his tour of UK, USA and Asia till Nov 29.
Nothing surprising there, since his indie album last year, A Reason to Swim, was funded entirely by his fan base. The 25-year-old saw his talent spread like wild fire on myspace, which he was dubbed its “Number 1 unsigned UK artist” some 4 years ago.
Joe strode on the TAB stage in a casual white shirt and a simple grey tie, as down to earth as you could imagine, and greeted his audience of more than a 100, mostly teenage fangirls and moonstruck couples, with an amiable “Hello Singapore!” that drove every soul (yes, including guys) in the audience wild with rapture.
Where he performed alone last year, this time, his honeyed vocals were accompanied by keyboardist Clinton Babers and drummer Matt de La Garza, his singing buddies on tour with him.
The trio kickstarted the 2-hour long performance with soothing tunes “Someday” and “World At Our Feet”, before switching it up with a groovy rendition by showcasing his self-taught acoustic guitar skills and a voice that demanding complete attention with “Apple”, Joe made them fall in love with him all over again.
In between numbers and taking swigs of water, he opened up and shared personal stories of how he almost became an actor but didn’t because he was deemed to look too old for the part. As you marvel at the boyish-looking performer, he confesses, “I [then] found out I had grown my first chest hair,”
Totally unselfconscious, he continued to joke, “Here’s the trouble with drinking water on stage. The next song you just burp,” which was closely followed by a series of laughter.
He also shared a little story behind “Hello Mr. Sun”. “One of my best friends, also one of the most amazing people in the world,” he said, “He has a son and this is his favourite song. He’s 3. So when I go out on the road and he misses me, he just listens to this song…”
It’s enough to get anyone to melt into a puddle of mush.
Brooksters, as his fans are known, took advantage of time in between songs to present Joe with handmade gifts and cards. When he opened one and began to read out the first line: HELLO, JOE… a group of girls yelled out in embarrassment, “No, no, no!!!” He cheekily reassured them that he was joking, put them aside and politely thanked his fans.
The self-proclaimed “Original JB” sure knows how to send hearts racing.
Fans also got an insight into his upcoming album The Boy & The Broken Machine, when he performed an exclusive (he claims) impromptu acoustic version of “Carousel”. No surprise here, the fans adored it.
Known for playing around with his characteristic falsetto (which he has clearly mastered), he delivered the catchy “Kaleidoscope” from his debut studio album, Constellation Me, clearly a crowd pleaser.
He then led the enthusiastic crowd into a slightly more intimate atmosphere, by spontaneously requesting for the lights on stage to be dimmed and the crowd to use their electronic devices as light sources, while he sang “Holes Inside”, a cappella.
Of course, no show would have been complete without his first single “Superman”. As he strummed the first few chords on his acoustic guitar, high-pitched shrieks of recognition and approval came from his fangirls, reverberating around the cosy club.
No further encouragement was needed. An innocent hand gestured above the crowd, tightly grasping a Superman cape. Seconds later, another hand was raised holding a Superman cape too. Clearly the fans were well prepared.
They sang along with contagious delight, clearly moved by Joe’s performance, which was nothing less than passionate and sincere till the very end. When the gig was finally coming to an end, the trio infused a taste of Jessie J’s contemporary R&B “Do It Like a Dude”, getting the crowd pumped up with excitement and begging for more. However due to time constraint, the band had to wrap up and proceed for the autograph signing session just before taking off for the Grand Mint Festival in Seoul.
Despite the heavy rain that fell close to the end of the set, the 100 over Brooksters packed on the dance floor were oblivious, belting out lyrics and bopping to every song that he performed. The evening could not have been more magical, making the 20th October a day to remember for every Joe Brooks fan present.
TAB is proud to be the official venue for Joe Brooks, LIVE.
All photos courtesy of Noel Teo.