While revellers elsewhere in the city were dressed in green and supping pints of Guinness for St. Patrick’s Day, Glasgow boy Joesef descended on Stylus for an early-doors gig commenced. There was a buzz in the air and I’d positioned myself excellently to see it all from a vantage point.
Opened by 20-year-old Etta Marcus, who started solo then was joined by full band, the event had the right ingredients from the off. Superbly soulful tones were deftly paired with a mix of electric and acoustic guitars, and a tight rhythm section that encouraged hips to shake. There was an old-school glamour to the sound, and you could identify the influences cited in her bio, from Joni Mitchell to Jeff Buckley.
If Etta Marcus wasn’t on your radar before, her silken vocals make for essential listening. It’s no surprise she’s claimed a Kendal Calling slot, among others.
The largely young crowd was buoyant by this time, ready to belt their lungs out to Joesef, an artist who’s been on the rise for some time, but made a stark and incredibly well-deserved impact since releasing his debut album, ‘Permanent Damage’. I’d been clamouring to see him perform since missing his Belgrave set at Live at Leeds last October, so I was delighted to have secured tickets to finally catch him. And oh, wow, did he deliver…
The energy was electric from just seconds in, and after a couple of introductory hits, Joesef asked the crowd, “If you’ve got any troubles or grievances, give them to me. Let’s just have fun, okay?” — a pivotal directive. Everyone was happy to be there, and it was palpable how emotionally connected, naturally, this artist was to his material. His backing band were on fire, too, from those crisp electric guitar strings to the sparkly synths serving funk and soul in spades.
The medley of older tunes and newer drops from the record was a treat. And while my standouts were always going to be the sensational ‘Moment’ and ‘It’s Been a Little Heavy Lately’, ‘The Sun Is Up Forever’ and its poignant attachments to his mother added the icing on top.
This display was exactly what I’d come to anticipate from Glaswegian acts; the city’s a colossally applaudable melting pot of rich and astonishing talent, and Joesef is one of the latest exports to rile up and inspire a crowd. This was evident in the raucous clapping that washed across the room as he emerged for his encore, for a solo sing-song initially. And his engagement with the crowd was on point throughout.
The outro came too soon, which saw the anthemic ‘Joe’ round off the evening and the singer himself bound down from the stage and into the elated, bouncing bodies for a party-style send-off. He said it was his favourite show of the tour so far and, aptly, nobody wanted him to leave.