Scottish singer Joesef stuns packed out crowd at Brudenell Social Club
Even though the revered Brudenell Social Club is only a 5-minute walk from my grotty student home, we still managed to show up halfway through the first song, but thankfully managed to catch the last half of one of Joesef’s best singles – It’s Been A Little Heavy Lately, a relatively new single with an irresistibly catchy groove and bassline that brings the songs energy to life in the iconic venue.
The Scottish, Bold Cut signed singer took to the stage with such confidence and charm, telling jokes like he was doing a stand-up show – his words, but he had everyone laughing including myself.
What shocked me the most was the relatively upcoming bedroom pop artist had a seemingly dedicated fanbase that knew every word, and I mean every word, meanwhile I only knew a few. But, maybe he had just been slipping under my radar, with just a few hundred people away from 2,000,000 monthly listeners, and his biggest song racking up over 23,000,000 plays. I’m now certainly a bigger fan than I was before the show.
His talented band helped elevate his already assured stage presence to that of an established bigger name like Tom Misch, or Rex Orange County. It was surreal seeing Brudenell so packed, for someone I heard originally only for his cover of Sister Sledge’s Thinking Of You, and as much as that sounds like a back handed compliment – it’s not, it’s a great cover, from a clearly bright artist.
The Sun Is Up Forever was another bittersweet highlight from the night, with its dreamy Mac Demarco style jangly guitar and its infectious hook. It’s a little difficult to stomach live with lyrics like ‘but honey now I’m better, the sun is up forever, I just see you in a different shade’.
Another highlight I was anticipating was the dreamy upbeat sounds of It’s Been A Little Heavy Lately – the lavish instrumental beautifully contrasted by his sombre lyrics. Alongside this, one of his greatest tracks, I Wonder Why featuring Loyle Carner, was a particularly special moment, with its sentimental and melancholy lyrics and gentle instrumental that wouldn’t feel out of place on a Carner LP.
Comedown, a track I’m sure many students would resonate with was another potent moment, as was the intoxicating single Fire. Many of his track’s deal with emotionally evocative themes, but he understood he was queer from an early age, and “the kids made fun of my trainers more than my sexuality,” – he was raised to celebrate his identity and understand it.
Speaking on his first single with BBC Scotland, he exclaimed ‘Limbo is part of a collection of tunes I wrote in the midst of my first break-up’. ‘I split up with my ex; we were still sleeping together. It was like that grey area — it was a horrible situation to be in. I was still in love.’ Having been in similar situations, it made his songs particularly difficult to digest live, but almost like closure in a sense.
As Glasgow’s Joesef left the stage, no one in the crowd believed it was over for a second. It’s obviously become tradition to exit right before your biggest track, we all know he would be performing an encore after chants of ‘one more song!’, and we all knew that song would be his Sister Sledge cover, ‘Thinking of You’. It’s a shame the talented Scottish songwriters biggest hit is a cover rather than a display of his own unique song writing abilities, however it went over incredibly well to the audience of mostly 20 something students.
For fans of the vulnerable, soulful soundscapes of Joy Crookes, Rex Orange Country, and Arlo Parks, make sure you give Joesef a listen – he’s certainly going nowhere any time soon, and the comparisons (whilst no artist should be boxed into a sound) certainly add up – after already supporting Mercury winning Arlo Parks, and working with Barney Lister (a talented producer whose worked with Joy Crookes and Celeste). His mellow vocals almost sound like a concoction of Joy Crookes and Sam Smith.
You can hear his Northern Soul raised roots, and what a fitting venue, being an old social club… His ‘kitchen radio’ also raised him on Al Green, The Cure, and The Mamas and the Papas, influences you can subtly here in his music. Whilst he’s not the next breakthrough Amy Whinehouse or rebirth of Motown – which misleading, pressurising headlines may lead you to believe (and I’m guilty of comparing him to others myself), he is for sure going to be one to look out for. His first ever gig had sold out without him even releasing a single, a big achievement for someone who relied on recording in his bedroom. Since then, he’s headlined a 2500 capacity show at his home in Glasgow!
Check out Joesef’s music here, and if you can, catch him when he next tours, as Glasgow’s Colourboxx Festival, his last date, has unfortunately been cancelled, but we’re sure he’ll be back soon.