Jose Gonzalez Concert Review

Contrary to popular belief, we don’t actually spend all of our time in front of TV screens. Sometimes, we venture out into the real world, and this past Thursday, we visited the Variety Playhouse in Atlanta to catch Jose Gonzalez in concert.

We thought this was a fitting first concert to cover since Jose first rose to fame in the United States after being featured on the soundtrack of The OC, the very first TV show that we bonded over, serving as the foundation of our friendship.

Venue: Variety Playhouse

variety playhouse marquee

Laura: Seeing a show at the Variety felt like a concert in a movie theater. They even have the concession stand with popcorn. While you can stand right in front of the stage or in either side aisle, you can also sit in an auditorium seat. Because I’m ridiculously short, I typically can’t see much of anything other than the back of the person in front of me when I’m standing in a crowd, and I was also a little under the weather, so the case for sitting over standing was strong.

Paige: We were forced to stand when Jose Gonzalez came out and the rows ahead of us all rose to their feet. Freakin peer pressure. It is definitely a small enough venue that there isn’t a bad spot in the house. I’m also 5 ft. 7 in., so Laura might disagree on that point.

Laura: I wish the auditorium had been slightly steeper. Because it was a very, very gradual incline, I couldn’t see much when everyone was standing. I think they should enforce some kind of rule that if you are in the seating area, you need to actually be, you know, sitting. Other than my trouble with seeing (which is nothing new for me at concerts), I enjoyed the venue!

Paige: The Variety Playhouse was definitely going for a hipster vibe, and if the guy two rows in front of us with suspenders is any indication, they’re succeeding. Overall, I’d return to Variety for another show and maybe go for front row of the balcony. Besides the viewing shenanigans, the acoustics were great and the crowd was chill. No other complaints from this girl.

Opening Act: Luluc


Paige: I have a confession to make. I didn’t entirely know what Jose Gonzalez looked like before we got there. I’d listened to a bunch of his songs on Spotify and through various other outlets, but had never seen his face. When Luluc took the stage, a small part of me wondered if Steve Hassett was in fact Jose and was just playing guitar for his opener. Thankfully, after two songs, the duo introduced themselves as Luluc.

Laura: I also had no idea who the opening act was, and since they weren’t introduced prior to starting to sing, I went in with no expectations. That being said, I was impressed! Their music is a bit sleepy (in the best way possible), so it’s not necessarily something I’d listen to all the time, but I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I felt their vibe meshed very well with Jose’s.

Paige: I vaguely recognized their music and name from listening to NPR music a while back, but had no familiarity with them otherwise. I was extremely impressed. I loved their lyrics, her voice, his harmonies, and their coupley charisma. I hope they make it big. They’re genuine talents (a completely unqualified opinion, btdubs). Listen to all of their stuff, but I’d strongly recommend “Tangled.”

Laura: I agree that the Australian duo was not only talented but also very charming. They had great chemistry and very sweet, unassuming personas. They’re the kind of people you can’t help but feel actually deserve their success because they haven’t seemed to let it go to their heads. They’re like cool people you’d strike up a conversation with at a bar or coffee shop.

Headliner: Jose Gonzalez


Laura: This guy is a true artist. He opened with “Crosses” which is my absolute favorite song by him. It’s so hauntingly beautiful.

Paige: Jose Gonzalez’s voice is impeccable. I cannot say enough good things about the way he sounded. His band was great, as well, filling out, but not overwhelming, the room. If you like his albums, go see him because there’s almost no detectable difference between his voice live and recordings.

Laura: There is seriously no difference between Jose live and Jose recorded. He is THAT good. As a singer myself, I have the utmost respect for someone who has the vocal talent to impress just as much live as they do in the recording studio. His entire set was just so nuanced and artistic. Every song was incredibly multi-layered. I found myself swaying to the guitar one second and then tapping my foot to the drum beat the next.

Paige: This might have just been me, but instead of watching Jose, I preferred looking up to the massive fan above us and seeing the colored lights bounce off its blades. I’m weird, though. That I know for sure. Oh, and hands down, my favorite part of his set was the way the excited cheers of the audience were met with his unapologetically mellow songs.

Laura: I noticed the fan thing too! There was definitely something entrancing about it. Overall, his music makes me feel like I’m on a porch with the wind rippling through my hair, surrounded by wind chimes whose notes blend together perfectly. It just makes you feel so serene, and it carries you away.

Our first experience as concert buddies was a success, and it will just be the first of many. With three more sets of concert tickets already lined up in Laura’s desk drawer, our fall concert calendar is booked pretty solid. We look forward to bringing you along to our next show!

Until the next commercial break,

Laura and Paige