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Jack Johnson @ The Ohana Fest 9/10/17. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Jack Johnson @ The Ohana Fest 9/10/17. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.


Dana Point, CA- If you were going to throw a music festival at one of the Southern California’s most popular surf spots, who would you ask to be a headliner? If you came up with any other name other than Jack Johnson … well … you should listen to more music.

The “Bubbly Toes”, “Flake” and “Wasting Time” singer is the epitome of mellow cool. As one of our contributors noted in a prior post about Jack’s headlining gig at Kaaboo in 2016, Jack’s got a “humble warrior spirit” that simply draws people too him. Like the plain t-shirt and jeans he wears whenever he performs, his magnetism is rooted in the simplicity of his music and honesty of his words. It’s plainspoken and pure, and accessible by everybody.

As I was waiting for him to take the stage, I started chatting with a young teenage girl who had apparently been waiting at the front rail since midday to see Jack Johnson perform. Unprompted by me, she started to explain to me how important this show was for her. Having been introduced to Jack Johnson’s music by her dad, it was love at first listen. She then proceeded to rattle off instance after instance after instance when life threw a curve ball at her and she had to miss seeing him perform despite having tickets to shows.

I asked her simply, “So why do you love Jack’s music so much?”

She replied simply, “Because it makes me happy.”

And that’s the thing. Here’s an artist who has sold millions of records. An artist who could easily make a huge production of his performance. An Artist who could easily over-produce records for that “big sound”. An artist who could be “warrior” if he wanted to, but opts to simply take the stage in his t-shirt and jeans. Today it’s all about big, big, big and bling, bling, bling, so when an artist like Jack Johnson sings with his acoustic guitar, and sometimes with minimal accompaniment, he’s able to connect with his audience on a truly human level, singing songs of life’s joys.

Jack’s performance was as joyful as it could be. He made it a point to express his great pleasure for Eddie inviting him to participate this year, jokingly thanking his wife for letting him participate despite the festival coinciding with her birthday. He then gave shout outs to some of his friends who were in the audience (including some of the guys in Pennywise). During his performance he had a few of his friends like festival co-organizer and pro-surfer Kelly Slater join him on stage. He took some of his hit song and added a little flavor to them by mashing them up with other popular songs (i.e. Incorporating Steve Miller Band’s “The Joker” in “Bubble Toes” and even took requests from the audience (I think he played “Shock Reverse Shock” as a request).

But the most amazing part of his performance was how engaged and connected the audience was with his music. He could have easily not sung at least half of his set as virtually everyone in the audience sang along with him most of the time. Even those songs that I myself wasn’t too familiar with, the audience seemed to know every single word and every single cadence. It truly was a beautiful thing to hear (thankfully, I stood next to people who could sing in tune).

For his finale, and the festival’s finale, Jack invited even more friends up on stage to perform an inspired rendition of “I Shall Be Released”. And like the humble warrior he is, he gave up the spotlight to let Glen and Eddie raise their voices in song because singing the last verse and humbly thanking the audience for letting him do his thing, which is making people …. happy.

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