Joy Crookes surprises with spellbinding set to sold out crowd at Stylus
South Londoner Joy Crookes gracefully took the stage to a packed crowd at Leeds Stylus on the 17th of November. Her addictive Adult Contemporary, Neo-Soul style made for Sunday mornings translated perfectly to a Saturday night out.
It’s been a while since I’ve seen someone so grateful watching fans confidently sing every word. The British-Irish-Bangladeshi singer almost seemed a little nervous from the overwhelmingly positive reception. The audience hung onto every syllable, lyric, and vocal. At one point she stated, ‘you’re gonna make me cry’, and commented ‘why are you so nice Leeds?’. Everyone of course, cheered her on, and a sea of love hearts appeared after she pointed out a fan in the crowd forming one with their hands.
As someone whose only recently started listening to the Joy Crookes, I was very impressed. I started paying attention to her music due to the buzz of standout songs like the brassy ‘When You Were Mine’ and ‘Feet Don’t Fail Me Now’, and her subsequent debut album which received rave reviews. Initially I was a little lukewarm on her LP due to the very clear similarities between her music and Amy Whinehouse’s, but after seeing her in person, I realised the level of talent she operated at, and since have enjoyed her album much more, as an impressive, personal homage or tribute to the music she grew up on, as well as her culture and salt of the earth South London roots and identity.
The very well-dressed live band were just as captivating as she was, providing a fantastic, jazzy backdrop to the sultry, soulful vocals. Songs like ‘Trouble’, ‘Kingdom’ and ‘Don’t Let Me Down’ flourished in a live setting, with hundreds all dazed and singing along. For her long-time supporters, she even played some more intimate EP cuts like ‘London Mine’, and ‘Two Nights’, to which she shouted, ‘you lot better dance!’.
She finished strong, with incredible instrumental moments that gave the band an opportunity to breathe and show their independent talent. Of course, Joy saved lots of fan favourites for last, including a low-key Kendrick Lamar cover, of DAMN.’s ‘YAH. and ‘ELEMENT.’. The aforementioned ‘When You Were Mine’ and ‘Feet Don’t Fail Me Now’ were excellent to hear, as soon as you heard the opening notes of each song, the crowd erupted. But, unexpected standouts from the gig were deep cuts ‘19th Floor’ and ‘Power’ – no doubt great tracks, but ones I had only heard once or twice. They were so cinematic, yet performed so charismatically, it truly was surreal.
Brit nominated Joy Crookes seems to have blown up very fast, selling out her tour, performing at Glastonbury, and previously due to support Harry Styles. It’s easy to see why, she’s clearly passionate about what she does, and the fans screamed their lungs out for her as if they were in the presence of a legend. Maybe one day she will earn that status if she keeps releasing music as soulful and intriguing as she has. It was very surprising just how passionate her fanbase was, as I had only recently begun to see Joy Crookes making waves, but she is definitely deserving of all the success. At only 23-years-old, the instrumentalist has already got a loyal fleet of followers, so catch her on tour before she’s high billing at every festival.
Find out more information on her tour here, and check out her critically adored debut album, Skin.