LIVE REVIEW: Jonny Craig and friends perform in a bowling alley

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Jonny Craig live: Barbara Witherow

Jonny Craig’s solo tour with Travis Garland and Kyle Lucas rolled into Lakewood, Ohio, on September 27. The night at Mahall’s 20 Lanes opened up with two female-fronted bands from the area, Visionaries and Keys & Corridors. The bands performed in front of the smaller half of the crowd that would show up during the night. Even though there was between 20 and 30 people in the venue and some technical difficulties for Keys & Corridors at first, the bands played well and passionately.

After the locals, Craig’s tourmate, rapper Kyle Lucas was next. It was Lucas and Slaves drummer Tia Wright for most of the set except in the middle when Craig joined to perform “Veritas” and “Worth It.” The crowd appeared to react well to the Georgian.

Travis Garland was next. At first the stage had a backdrop on it, then it was announced that Garland would be performing in the bowling alley itself, instead of the show space at Mahall’s. During Garland’s spontaneous stage change, Alex Lyman (Slaves) interrupted his set and challenged him to bowl a strike. Garland hesitated, then picked up a bowling ball and rolled a strike. Lyman was up next and failed to knock down all the pins. After Garland’s next song, Lyman showed up with shots for him and the winner. The crowd responded extremely well to the intimate performance with the R&B singer, Garland and his guitar player.

Next was the headliner, Jonny Craig. Colin Vieria (Slaves) did guitar and Wright played drums for Craig. The singer performed almost a dozen songs ranging from his solo work to Slaves. He performed three songs with Lucas including “We Black Hearts Bear The Cross,” “The Party And The Dream” and “I Still Feel Her Part 5.” Lyman played acoustic guitar for Craig for two songs during which they sat down on the stage. “My Soul Is Empty And Full Of White Girls” was the last song Craig performed. Lyman joined Vieria and Wright onstage with Craig and the crowd reacted by opening up a small pit. Even though there were less than 50 people in the venue, the crowd appeared to have fun and enjoyed the performances.