Brotha Josh performs debut album at Thirsty Hippo

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On Saturday, Jan. 26, local neo-soul band Brotha Josh and The Quickness performed at the Thirsty Hippo in celebration of their debut album “Touro Street”. The album was released on all streaming platforms on Jan. 25.

The show was opened by Empty Atlas, an indie band rooted in both Hattiesburg and Jackson.

In regard to the band’s reasoning behind choosing the Thirsty Hippo as the venue for their release show, lead vocalist and guitarist Joshua Holt said, “It’s one of the coolest venues [in Hattiesburg], and it has a great atmosphere that just works with our style.”

The band exemplified their relationship with the venue by stopping their show mid-performance to serenade one of the Hippo’s bartenders, Mason Beasley, for his birthday.

In addition to their own songs, the band also performed covers of songs by artists such as Stevie Wonder and Anderson Paak.

“We’ve performed the songs before, but this was our first time performing the entire album from start to finish, and we feel really good about it,” Holt said.

Philip Tapscott, bassist and senior music major at Southern Miss spoke of previous performances with Empty Atlas.

“I had a couple jazz ensembles at Southern with their guitarist, Brennan, and we also already performed with them at Duling Hall in Jackson last July. We both opened for some band from Texas,” Tapscott said. “It was supposed to be a huge show, but no one ended up coming.”

Empty Atlas guitarist Brennan White produced Brotha Josh and The Quickness’ album, in addition to providing the guitar solo on the band’s single “You Should Know Well”, the song both Holt and Tapscott agreed was the most fun to perform.

“People really dance to it—those are always the best performances,” Tapscott said.

White was invited to perform the single alongside Brotha Josh and The Quickness, proving the obvious camaraderie between them.

As a local performer, White said he appreciates being able to befriend and play with high caliber musicians such as Brotha Josh and the Quickness.

“I think the camaraderie is definitely there because really, we’re all a bunch of local musicians just hoping we don’t have zero people show up to our concerts because that’s always traumatic starting out,” White said. “I don’t think [people] realize how paramount their attendance is to self-esteem and art of local musicians, so the camaraderie is a necessity for local musicians to even function.”

After the show, Southern Miss alumnus Nelson Nipper praised Brotha Josh’s most recent performance.

“I’ve been to seven or eight of their shows, and they get better and better every time,” Nipper said. “They are fantastic live performers—they somehow manage to keep the flow going throughout their entire show.”

When talking to attendees after the show, Holt said he appreciates Hattiesburg’s diversity and acceptance.

“My favorite aspect about Hattiesburg is how diverse the music scene is. [There is everything] from punk to jazz, to indie—Hattiesburg is a breeding ground for great music,” Holt said.

As a recent graduate from Southern Miss, Holt reflected on what he would be doing if he was not a performer.

“I’d definitely be stuck at some miserable job, wishing I was doing this instead,” Holt said.