Jack Johnson returned to North Carolina for his 2017 summer tour.
But before Jack Johnson was the opening act, Bahamas. Bahamas is the solo project of Afie Jurvanen, based out of Toronto, Canada, he debuted his first album Pink Strat in 2009 and since then has released Barchords in 2012 and Bahamas is Afie in 2014. Having toured with The Lumineers, Wilco, Robert Plant, City and Colour, and playing prestigious festivals like Newport Folk, Bahamas is a severely underrated act.
The Thursday night show at PNC was Bahamas’ first stop on the tour with Johnson. Jurvanen and his band casually walked on stage and quickly captured the crowd with popular hits like “All the Time” and “Lost In The Light.” The combined effort of Jurvanen and his band complimented by the backing vocals of the talented fellow Toronto native, Felicity Williams, made their music sound ethereal and effortless. Bahamas’ minimalist laid-back style gave PNC a coffee shop vibe– except on this night, the coffee shop held nearly 20,000 people.
Jurvanen’s easy-going stage presence matched his nonchalant response to the speeding ticket he received on his way to the show, he stated “he probably won’t pay” because he’s Canadian. Jurvanen sang and played his iconic pink fender strat while his band bolstered a solid backing track. As the opening act, the set had a limited time. However, this seemed to work to Bahamas’ advantage, giving a taste of who Bahamas is and leaving the crowd wanting more.
Jack Johnson returned to North Carolina with his trademark free-spirited kind vibes. Having played 3 years ago in Raleigh, North Carolina, Johnson returned this time with a date in Charlotte. The ex-professional surfer who suffered a massive facial injury, which led him to music, is now on tour promoting his new album All The Light Above It Too. Johnson’s contagious positivity filled the amphitheater opening with his hit song “Sitting, Waiting, Wishing.” The stage was decorated with lights made from plastic collected on beaches in Hawaii, and included a backdrop made of fishing nets.
Johnson sang a multitude of songs for the crowd with many off his new album. Early on, Johnson invited his “biggest fan,” a young girl with a neon pink sign on stage to play maracas. Johnson also brought Bahamas back out to sing a cover of “Whole Wide World” and invited friend/musician, John Craigie, to sing a few songs with him. During the encore, Johnson took requests from the audience, giving the amphitheater an intimate feel.
Even if you don’t like Jack Johnson’s music, it is easy to like him as a person. Outside of his musical talent, Johnson’s passions include surfing, spending time with his family, and promoting environmental awareness. Having high expectations for his return to North Carolina, he didn’t disappoint.