Johnny Flynn and the Sussex Wit – The Pizza Can Wait


Features, Music, Review | by — April 10, 2014


jflynn10_credit Luke Montgomery_20130813_104605
Johnny Flynn and the Sussex Wit
Koko, Camden
April 9th, 2014

by Ella Fitzsimmons

Luring your friends to a gig with the promise of pizza afterwards puts high pressure on the performer. While charmingly folky, the warm up gig, Cosmo Jarvis, failed the pizza test. My petite friend looked at me over the brim of her plastic cupped G&T and asked, pleadingly, “Is the famous man coming on soon? I want pizza.”

Luckily, Johnny Flynn proved worth the starvation. Flynn is Mumford and Sons with an edge, who happens to look like a photo from Germaine Greer’s The Boy. His voice and musicality seems lifted straight from New York’s West Village in the late 1960’s, before Bob Dylan’s genius knocked out the tradition he came from. It was great. “The famous man is good! Pizza can wait,” according to my mate. Extra props to Flynn’s backup singer, Holly, who was the first backup singer I’ve wanted to hear more from since hearing Lisa Hannigan support Damien Rice at Brixton Academy a gazillion years ago.

I love Koko’s giant glitter ball and music hall décor, but I wish I’d seen Johnny Flynn at an outdoor gig in the summer. There’s something about his music that reminds me of being 17, unable to tell the boy I’m with that the way I feel about him might be “love”, barefoot, swigging beer from a cheap can and focusing my eyes on a star so I don’t fall over from twirling. Koko doesn’t quite lend itself to that. They’re a funny crowd, the neo-folkers in London; all patterned dresses and flaking red lipstick on the girls, and the “don’t look at my thinning hair”-bearded boys in their lumberjack shirts. All moving unrhythmically to the words, not the beat. But they seemed happy. I hope they too were dancing barefoot on the inside.

Basically: see Johnny Flynn before one of David Cameron’s PR people tells him he should pretend to like him, as they did with First Aid Kit. We all know it’s coming.

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