Following the release of his debut album, Will Joseph Cook has embarked on his biggest UK tour yet. Taking a break between his set to rejoice over the fact his Manchester crowd has grown from seven people to a large group, Thursday night saw Manchester’s Sound Control fill with fans eager to hear Cook perform a set brimming with old and new songs.
One thing you notice as Cook and his band first step onto the stage is the energy. He greets the crowd and opens with the title track, ‘Sweet Dreamer’. Perhaps the most upbeat song from the album, there is not one member of the crowd stood still, with the front row mimicking the moves of Cook and his band.
A few more upbeat songs later, including the likes of ‘Treat Me Like a Lover’ from the new album, Cook announces he’s going to bring the mood down a little. He gets out his acoustic guitar, joking that this song will separate the original fans to the newer fans, resulting in the noise from the crowd disappearing, as those die-hard fans on the front row sing-along word perfect to ‘Message’. The momentum picks up a little, which makes this set that little more exciting; the slower songs are perfectly sandwiched between the more animated songs, giving the audience ample opportunities to showcase their best ‘dance’ moves, as well as the classic ‘one-hand-in-the-air’ sway.
‘Girls Like Me’ is the “closing” song of the set, however, Cook teases the crowd, making it obvious that the band will adopt the unwritten rule of a gig, that is: performing artists must fool the crowd into thinking they have closed their set until they return to the stage for a planned encore. Cook uses the ‘la la la’s’ within the song as an opportunity to involve the crowd, which they do so willingly, with Cook singing one line, and the crowd singing the next.
After ‘Girls Like Me’ is over, Cook exclaims how they don’t have a back room to ‘hide’ in for their encore, and so they will lie on the floor until the crowd have finished the usual shouts of “we want more”, and “encore”. This results in a collective howl of laughter from the crowd, as the four members remove their instruments, only to lie face-down on the stage floor. After a couple of minutes, the band “unexpectedly” appear from their laying positions, with the encore treating us to a further two songs; ‘Biggest Fan’ and ‘Beach’, which perfectly close the short but sweet 45-minute set.