MTM on Tour: Josiah rocks Kobe
Viewed from the green felt sofa, Josiah Hawley fit right in with the stylish interior. "oshare" was a word one could pick up here and there as people started to pour in, if that was directed at the man or the venue remains a mystery.
This was the first music event held at the illustrious "Alchemy" since the pandemic swept across the land. The crowd shuffled, insecure, clearly uneasy regaining their footing in a social setting. Then, a smoldering voice asked to "come a little bit closer" and Josiah's first chords cut down the hesitating atmosphere.
"Gonna let you go" (see video) got people on their feet, their attention grabbed, they started shaking.
All danceable land was being claimed and by the time the Taylor guitars last strum reverberated, there was no empty place on the floor left.
Moments later he showed his vocal range with "I just want your love" the crowd had turned into a broiling sea of bodies enthralled by the piper of funk in front of them.
Friday was a warm-up, a success like no warm up ever was before. Josiah's vocals were amazing but his stage presence is what separates him from others. He plays a crowd almost better than he does guitar, he could get a pack of wheelchair-bound elderly to dance the night away.
Then Saturday came, Josiah played the Funk Grammar festival, it was a special experience to see Mr Hawley play without his band. The music that normally would be wave after wave of upbeat danceable soulful rock, with it's incredible bass and pounding drums now gained an extra layer of intimacy. As if it is saying "yes, it is a party, but we can cuddle later." "Aishite hoshii" indeed!
The next day, we called it Sunday, a lot of familiar faces found each other again in Alchemy. Four of those familiar faces belonged to the band members of K109, a band that also played the Funk Grammar Festival the day before. Josiah and the band members could be seen outside in the sun for a while, seemingly scheming. We knew something was afoot, but nothing could prepare us for what came next. They took us on an improvised journey. A funky jam session of five very talented musicians clearly having the time of their life, while infecting the crowd in the once again packed "Alchemy".
Kobe is still reeling from the passage of hurricane Hawley, if not all of Kobe then at least Alchemy and it's regulars. Josiah proved that weekend that he is one of the best artists in the stables of More than Music. This handsome man, from LA but born in Arkansas, can connect with any audience and has the skill and confidence to do it without his regular band. And his Sunday show, with a minimum of preparation, playing together with musicians he just met the day before, will be one of the many legends that are forever imprinted on the walls of "Alchemy".