I started 2018 not knowing who TF Hobo Johnson was. Now, halfway through the year, I am a fan. A huge fan. And I think everyone else should be, too.
Let me start from the beginning… A guy asked if I wanted to go to a Hobo Johnson concert with him and his 18-year-old daughter. My immediate reaction was, "How do you have a teenage daughter?!" followed by "Hobo who?" I said yes regardless because who turns down a free concert? The next day I asked my co-workers if they knew who he was. They responded with blank looks and I felt reassured that this concert was going to be the time of my life (sigh).
Through some casual Instagram stalking, I found one colleague who follows him on IG. She's young and hip and said she's a big fan. It turns out Hobo Johnson is a stage name for 24-year-old Frank Lopes, whose "Peach Scone" music video for NPR's Tiny Desk Contest went viral back in March. The full band (Hobo Johnson and the Lovemakers) consists of four other guys who play instruments alongside him — to describe their sound she literally said, "[Their music] reminds me of the whininess of emo and pop punk." OH. Well, this concert won't be weird at all. Can't wait.
With my expectations set low, I went to Gramercy theater with an exit strategy in place — less for the Hobo man and more so for the whole going on a date with a dude and his daughter thing. Upon walking into the venue I immediately realized that the crowd was pretty young. There were teens everywhere. And then Frank walks out and announces that Justin Bieber is there and I lost my actual s–t because I love JB. So much. And literally not a single other person in the entire audience cared. They clearly have two very different fanbases. And as this realization dawned on me, the band started playing.
And actual magic happened.
If you've never heard his music before, Hobo Johnson's style is a mix of rap and slam poetry with some emo vibes thrown in — and OMG I am obsessed. His music perfectly sums up what it feels like to be young — there's the angst you'd expect mixed with pure goofiness and streams of consciousness that will hit you right in the feels. He's not rapping about cars and big butts, but about topics that young people can relate to, i.e. bacne, being friendzoned, relationships, conforming for adults, parents divorcing… He's unapologetically himself and it's so incredibly refreshing.
With lyrics like, "I won't write you a f–king pop song, but I'll write you an analytical thesis about your mom and why she's a great woman," how can you not fall in love with this guy?!
To top things off, there was a young man standing behind me screaming compliments like "You're so talented!" and "That shirt looks good on you!" to Frank while he was on stage. My heart nearly exploded and I could not for the life of me wipe the smile off of my face. Hobo Johnson is starting a movement and it's to spread good vibes and be yourself regardless of how goofy or sensitive or "unpopular" you feel. Embrace it.
Who would have thought that a potentially awkward AF first date would turn into something so oddly inspiring?! Move over Bieber, it's Hobo Johnson's time to shine.