This past Saturday night I saw singer-songwriter and producer Yoshi Flower perform at Elsewhere in Brooklyn. Yoshi Flower is unique in that he takes his inspirations from hip-hop, electronic, and rock music and applies those sounds into his own music. Most of his songs are mixed, both melodious and bombastic, or as he says, “equal parts Zen and ratchet.” This blending of genres is how he caught my attention in the first place; thank you Spotify Discover Weekly playlist!
This is Yoshi’s first headlining tour, with five stops in the US, and titled after his album released last October, American Raver. Yoshi uses his music to portray the current “young” American audience who go to music festivals (ranging from about 18 to 26), how their parents feel about the choices they make in life through his skits, how substances affect perceptions and feelings, and the impact that the current political situation has on these leaders of tomorrow. It’s relatable, with reflections on today’s culture, mental health, and America. The album, as Yoshi put it, “was written from a place of someone who is navigating the paradox of being American.” Calling his fans lovers, he’s trying to promote positive chill vibes while talking about some heavy stuff.
Zone 1 at Elsewhere was a relatively small venue and the place felt full but not packed, which let people move around during sets. There were two openers, but I missed the first, Rebounder. KennyHoopla was the second opener and was touring with Yoshi, they’re friends along with being collaborators. He describes his music as “new wave nostalgia,” but his set was not as good live compared to the production heavy tracks online.
The crowd was at its biggest for Yoshi’s performance and it was a blast from the moment he came on. One thing I noticed was the differences in the people who were there - people were wearing Hawaiian or polo shirts and oversized sweatshirts, dresses and tank tops, denim jackets and boujee jackets, some were ready for a rave, others for a mosh pit. It was great being in a crowd full of diverse fans. You could see his beat backtrack being played in real time on a computer right next to him while he performed on the guitar. There was an American flag with his logo in the place of the stars behind him as a backdrop with sound reacting lights on both sides, his logo a smiley face with a third eye surrounded by black.
Yoshi knew how to get the crowd to participate, one example being when he asked us to sing the intro to a song while he tuned his guitar and continue to sing that part during the chorus. It was fun to be in a place where you could jump around during his drop heavy songs like "Of the United States of America", sway during his more chill indie tracks like "One Lover" and bop your head during the parts he rapped over. I wished he played "Invisible", my favorite track from the album, but was happily surprised with the boppy with heavy riffs single "Brown Paper Bag" he ended the show with before smashing his guitar for a dramatic exit.
He came out after about ten minutes and said hello to those still there, including me, and gave a person part of his broken guitar because they asked. I won’t be surprised if he blows up in the music scene soon. He signed to Interscope records months after playing Bonnaroo and opened for Dua Lipa in Las Vegas on her last tour. Overall this show was great, and I had a fun time singing along and talking with other people who came to see Yoshi. I can’t wait to see him again when he has more songs and a bigger following meaning bigger crowds to vibe and mosh with!