Johnny Lloyd performed an incredible set at the O2 Academy Liverpool on November 30th. He got an insane gig supporting the Fratellis on their much anticipated Costello Music 10th anniversary tour.
The O2 Academy Liverpool is a fairly intimate venue for the Fratellis, working perfectly for the tour. However, Johnny has been filling smaller venues on his headline tour this year. Nevertheless, Johnny had an incredible turnout – impressive considering these sized venues often feel embarrassingly empty for support acts, not giving them fair recognition. He managed to keep the large crowd lively throughout the whole of his set portraying his remarkable stage presence. His four piece band embody a perfected melancholy, yet excited, vibe.
All four tracks from the new EP ‘Dreamland’ were played during Johnny’s set. There were definite Johnny Lloyd fans in the front half of the venue showing their support lyrically. Songs to note included the spectacularly subdued ‘Happy Humans,’ which brought the audience to life with it’s glossy electric guitar hooks. The title track ‘Dreamland’ on the EP kept the crowd’s attention with a change of guitar to acoustic, a catchy riff and delicate backing vocals harmonising with Johnny’s sharp vocals. Several unreleased songs were played which were extremely impressive and well-received, such as ‘Could You Love Another;’ certainly increasing excitement for his next release.
Johnny has had a successful 2016 and supporting the Fratellis appears to have been the perfect way to end it.
“It’s brilliant, so much fun. Last night felt really welcoming in Manchester and it was one of the best shows of the year. And they’re just the best, funniest bunch of blokes.”
(On song ‘Chelsea Dagger’) “Everybody knows it. You just can’t believe he wrote that ‘doot doo doo doot doo doo’, it’s one of those songs that’s ingrained in culture, like it’s at every football match. It’s brilliant, it’s been fantastic really, and I’m delighted that they invited us on, it was really last minute.”
Johnny has been solo for 2 years now. In this time he has had incredible supporting gigs including the The Maccabees, The Goo Goo Dolls, Tom Odell and The Mystery Jets. His first headline tour was extremely successful – Johnny seems to be thriving on a solo career.
“It was a year of not really doing anything, just getting stuff together. But we’ve played over 100 gigs this year, so it feels like it’s real now.”
“It’s been crazy, I have been really surprised to be honest. I think because I’m a bit older now I don’t really have the same, not ambition, but I don’t have the same need for it. You know what I mean? In Tribes it was like I’ve got to do this. Now I just have a good time and whatever comes comes and that’s just the way I’m living. It’s not life and death. So it feels much more relaxed and I’m happy and grateful for the opportunities that have come my way.
And even the fact that I’ve got a new manager and agent, it’s been great. Touring is what it’s about for me I think, and that’s what it’s always been about. I love being on the road and I love playing shows and the whole lifestyle of it.”
“I think there was a lot more pressure probably in Tribes because we were on the major label and it was a big, very quick rise. So I don’t feel any pressure these days; I feel less pressured solo.”
As previously mentioned, Johnny released his EP ‘Dreamland’ this year. Produced by Jamie T and Hugo White, it’s well worth a listen and has reached 15 in the UK iTunes album chart.
“I think the guys I made it with, Jamie T and Hugo White probably had influences. I think the songs were pretty much there it’s just the way they picked them out.”
“I’m influenced more by my friends and peers more than 70s rock and roll now; I think they had a big hand in what it was going to be about and what songs were going to be on the EP.”
“It was great. It was a very different experience. Jamie just gets in the studio, and you plug in and play; he knows exactly what he likes and it’s slightly grittier as you can imagine. With Hugo it was much more meticulous and methodical. I think that’s just the difference between The Maccabees and Jamie T. They’re both great people and weirdly they’re both really good friends as well.”
“I wanted it to feel a bit more polished than what I’d done in the past, and I wanted the drums to feel big, that was my main two things I wanted. I think we just about achieved that.”
Johnny has quite clearly smashed 2016 and looks like he’ll be doing the same next year. If you haven’t had a chance to see him yet he’ll be doing more touring and festivals in 2017. We can also look forward to a new EP and album.
“I’m currently working with Hugo White again which I’m really happy about and that new EP’s going to be out in April.”
“I think the EP will be the lead in to the record so maybe there’ll be the same sort of three rock things and an acoustic. I actually made this next one pretty much by myself without the group, which is more of a studio thing with Hugo, which has been exciting. But I think the album, a lot of it you’ll hear tonight in the live show, I want it to be a band thing but with elements of studio.”
“I think we’re doing another headline tour in April and maybe some more supports and a new EP which is exciting and then into the summer and get on some festivals. And from that point I’d say make the album late 2017 and put it out sort of next Christmas or January after. Yeah, it’s exciting.”