Culture, Manchester, Music, Review

Live Review: Joy Crookes @ The Deaf Institute

0 73

Words and Photography by Leah Iontton

The opening act, Amun, a 23-year old Somali-British singer-songwriter, came on stage sporting lime green trackies and matching NIKE Air Force 1’s. Her stage presence was clear and unapologetic. Greeting the female-dominated crowd, Amun kicked off the night with her latest track ‘Cycle’, setting the vibe for an energy-filled set which expressed her passion for R&B classics.

She then climbed atop a stool, surprisingly, as a spotlight beamed over her, and slowed down the set, singing a soulful version of her song ’Family’, before snapping back into more fast-paced, trap-influenced songs such as ‘Get Pounds’ and ‘So Cold’. Despite the clear musical contrasts of her slower, more jazz-inspired songs, Amun and her resident DJ got the crowd prepped for a night of celebrating young, female British artists. She dominated the stage and her self-assurance and confidence exuded through her performance.

Headliner Joy Crookes, ambassador for a fusion of cultures with a Bengali-Irish heritage, came on stage to a Bangladeshi backing track and began to chat with the audience. The small size of the Deaf Institutes’ stage gave the gig a far more intimate feeling than anticipated, which only further enhanced the acoustics and visuals of those performing on the night. It even encouraged conversations regarding Halloween costumes – some people came dressed as Joy Crookes herself, whilst another opted for the slightly more interesting choice of Cher Lloyd.

Throughout the night, Crookes, supported by her bandmates Charles Monneraud on guitar, Dayna Fisher on bass, and Adam Wade on drums breached various topics in her music. It’s clear that her sense of identity and London upbringing heavily influences her work. Her song ‘London Mine’, for example, holds a strong political message about the mistreatment of immigrants in the Windrush Scandal.

Other songs in her set-list such as well-known single ‘Mother may I sleep with Danger’ and ‘Yah/ Element’, an ode to American rapper/ hip-hop artist Kendrick Lamar and his DAMN album, enticed participation from the fans, who sang along with every word.

The playful way in which Crookes works with her songs highlights an obvious fact – that she’s a young woman dealing with all the ups and downs of life in her 20s. Her music explores relationships, friendships, self-confidence, and even touches on feminist themes in songs such as ‘Power’. ‘Don’t let me down’, an emotion-filled song that talks of a past relationship with a bitter-sweet end, was a crowd favourite as Crookes picked up her own guitar, proving her talents don’t just lie with singing, and her guitarist Monneraud chimed in with a hefty guitar solo to bring the song together.

Crookes’ knack for storytelling was apparent throughout the gig. She didn’t say that much in-between songs, but let the music speak for itself. She claims her ability with song-writing comes from her family members such as her mother and grandmother, whilst her diverse music taste harks back to when she began listening to a wide range of artists with her father, such as Gregory Isaacs and Kendrick Lamar.

Crookes’ continued to be enamoured by the audience as she belted out songs including ‘Hurts,’, ‘No Hands’, ‘Darkest Hour’ and ‘Since I left you’. She even performed a funky adaption of ‘Sunshine’ allowing the bassist, Fisher, to really shine through. Despite her honest, vulnerable and sentimental songs, her fearless writing and strong viewpoints are still visible.

It’s obvious that Joy Crookes is one to watch on the UK scene as she completes her first headlining tour with a sold-out gig in her hometown, London, at eARTh Hackney on 5th November.

About the author / 


Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More News Stories:

  • Lightopia Festival is offering 30% off tickets for all aAh! readers

    Just use the code UNIMETRO30 at checkout to receive your discount Manchester’s Lightopia Festival is offering 30% off tickets for all aAh! Magazine readers. The event, which is the largest light festival in Europe and the UK, will be illuminating Heaton Park this year until 31st December. The discount code for aAh! readers is UNIMETRO30…

  • Review: The Reno Reborn @ Whitworth Art Gallery

    The Reno – a safe space in an “unsafe” neighbourhood. The funk & soul cellar of Moss Side in the 80s was packed with iconic regulars, MPs and people like ‘Hurricane’ Higgins; all dancing to the beats of DJ Persian. Last Thursday on the 28th of November, The Reno’s atmosphere returned to Manchester with the…

  • Andy Burnham and Sacha Lord talk drugs, crime and safety at night for students at Manchester Met

    A student safety event hosted by Sacha Lord, the Night-Time Economy Adviser, featuring the Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burham and the Greater Manchester Student Assembly encouraged students to discuss safety issues in their university lives and on nights out. The event, held at Manchester Metropolitan University and attended by over 150 students, addressed concerns…

  • Live Review: Mac DeMarco @ Manchester O2 Apollo

    Mac DeMarco is an artist who performs like he’s inside his own living room. With the lights down low, the Canadian king of chill and his bandmates wreaked absolute havoc on socially acceptable gigging norms under the cavernous oval stage of the O2 Apollo, with an onslaught of unexpected stage antics and impromptu outbursts backed…