Live Review: Joy Crookes @ Rough Trade

It was early evening on a brisk Sunday night in late October when Matty Hill was in the queue, waiting to see the newly released debut record from Joy Crookes': Skin (which has since reached number 5 in the UK albums chart and received 5 stars from DIY). He gives his thoughts on the show.

I was eager to hear the second show of Joy’s tour following the release of her LP - my friend however, having been told some slightly misleading information, was nervously waiting to see Darren Brown. Having readily bitten a large chunk out of my initial fib, I was forced to improvise: resulting in my friend believing that she had at some point in the previous week been hypnotised by Mr Brown and coerced into performing some sort of hideous crime, which would be revealed to her and the rest of the 150 strong crowd during the finale of his show. “It’s ok” I said reassuringly, as we waited in front of the stage, empty but for a microphone and a drum kit which we (luckily) couldn’t see, “you were hypnotised, it’s not your fault, you won’t get in trouble”.

As the wait for Joy lengthened, the lie began to spiral, mutating into a vicious, but rather creative magic circle themed bank heist, headed by my friend and Dynamo, and masterminded by Penn and Teller. Having survived half an hour of nit-picking, I was about thirty seconds away from pulling off the greatest lie-covered surprise of my life, when two exceedingly selfish men in front of us held up their signed, newly purchased Skin vinyl’s to admire. “Oh for fu….” Was cut short by cheers and applause as Joy and her band came to stage and began to play.

Leading her four-piece band, (Alex Reeve on guitar, Liam Fergus on Piano and Dana Fisher on Bass) Joy opened with the first single of her album, Feet Don’t Fail Me Now. Although it was met with a somewhat quiet response in the very intimate upper stage at Rough Trade Nottingham, I believe this was more out of admiration for the singer’s voice, as well as the slight awkwardness that will always come with a small, sober, Sunday night soiree. Four newly released songs from the album followed, and having only been out for a little over a week, it wasn’t a surprise that there was little noise from the crowd. This seemed to affect the singer who might’ve seen this as a bad reception, but after a light voice break and a mid-song cough (which she humorously assured us wasn’t Covid) the crowd showed their support and upped the volume for the best song on the album, When You Were Mine. Unfortunately, this was the last track played as Joy and her band rushed to make the last train for their show the next day in Paris.

''The crowd showed their support and upped the volume for the best song on the album, When You Were Mine''

The 22 year old ‘has fast become one of the UK’s most exciting new artists’ and while she may have spent more time signing records at the venue than she did singing them, she was still able to put across the intimacy and honesty of her writing on subjects like relationships and mental health in such a short space of time, as well as getting the entire crowd (and their mums) to boogie to the final song. Sadly Darren Brown was a no show, but a very enjoyable evening I still had.

Written by: Matty Hill

Edited by: Amrit Virdi

Featured image and in-article images and videos courtesy of Joy Crookes via Facebook and YouTube.