LIVE REVIEW // Josh Osho – Hoxton Bar & Grill, London 19/7/11
Incessant grey skies; jet powered showers and crestfallen faces are fast becoming the archetype of a British summer (This was written before the impromptu heatwave) As I head down to the Hoxton Bar & Grill, ‘Has It Come To This’ is on loop in my mental Wurlitzer – a subconscious theme tune over Ringmaster Rupert’s corruptive circus. I digress.
Amidst the muffled chatter and dim scenery, lit sparsely by flickering candle lights in the damp air, a bulky ,yet, bouncy Saff’ Londoner brightens up the assembled congregation for this midweek service. Clad in a black quilted jacket; grey baseball cap and acoustic guitar, the adopted priest Josh Osho quickly kicks off proceedings on his first London night with the bubblin’ blues number ‘Ebenezer Hotel’ inspired by his time in a hostel of the same name. Uplifting and honest with a Southern tinge, the bassist’s slapping coupled with his approving facial expressions exemplify how infectious the twang is.
Backed by a more than capable band which also includes BBC 1xtra’s CJ Beatz, Osho raises the temperature further which is a feat in the unofficial sauna, he plays ‘Birthday’ and ‘S.O.S’ – both from his debut LP, L.I.F.E. I recall talking to him about singing the latter at a gig in Leeds where he supported Corinne Bailey Rae last year and the half-hearted crowd reception made him realise “how personal” his songs were to him. The resonance of the acoustic echoes brings the room into a hushed silence and Josh exposes his soul at it’s most vulnerable. In a word- Spine tingling.
Josh asks the masses whether they are Jay-Z fans and as you guess, it gets a rather animated response. CJ Beatz nods his head dutifully a la the Churchill dog and launches into a bouncing looped instrumental of Jay-Z and Alicia Key’s Empire State of Mind. Yet, the lyrics which he layers atop of the beat are lost on me. I watch the avid Gooner bring the energy in this one performance than Arshavin in the whole of last season.
Osho then poses the question – “Who knows the name of that song?” He then lowers his mic into the crowd and a giddy superfan shouts “Tracey Chapman – Talkin’ Bout A Revolution” in such a swift fashion, she’d give Busta Rhymes a run for his wonga. He then closes the night with his forthcoming release ‘Redemption Days’ which features Ghostface Killah and it confirms a versatile performer whose humble persona should see him elevate for years to come.
Josh Osho recalls the passion of late pastmaster Lynden David Hall and sits comfortably amongst his peers Sampha and Javeon Mccarthy in bringing soulful UK talent to the forefront. On evidence of this live performance…long may it continue.
For more info on Mr Osho – follow him on Twitter @joshoshomusic
Watch out for my interview with Josh coming soon.