The previous two times I’d seen Johnny Flynn were in Clwb Ifor Bach in Cardiff – a tiny backstreet venue with the performers literally at the end of your finger tips. Seeing Johnny progress to playing the significantly bigger Scala in London, I felt a bit like a nervous mother or jealous girlfriend – the crowd had claimed him as their own, I wanted to shout ‘No, I was here first!’
But it was an inevitable progression that has served Johnny well. The rawness of Brown Trout Blues was more enjoyable whilst surrounded by likeminded fans – the power of the song seemed to bring the crowd together. Likewise, more upbeat songs like Leftovers and Tickle Me Pink created the sensation of being at a swinging barn dance, but with slightly less hay and slightly more stylish partners to swing you around the room.
Johnny suits a bigger venue – whilst his songs are poignant, the strength in his music is the brilliant ensemble that is The Sussex Wit backing up his powerful vocals and taking them to a whole new level.
I was fortunate to catch an impromptu support set by Johnny at the Mumfords gig the following Monday. As much as I enjoyed it, I was still revelling in the enjoyment of his Scala performance, and I wanted to see him own the stage once again, but this time he seemed lost without his band. He has done himself a favour and made his fans proud by progressing to bigger venues and commandeering the room as his own. The only way is up.
Words: Mary Liggins