By Merrielle Gatlin

Love was in the air at the Elijah Johnston’s Valentine’s Day 2024 concert at the Georgia Theater. There was an overload of cute couples laughing, dancing and singing along to the music. It was a great concert with a solid lineup for going out on Valentine’s day. With Athens’ Hunlo and Atlanta’s Kid Fears as openers and Elijah Johnston as the headliner. 

A surprise highlight of the night came in the form of the first opener, Hunlo. Hunlo is the solo project of Toni Hunlo of Lighthearted. It was his first performance as a solo artist at the Georgia Theatre, but I doubt it will be his last. There were solid instrumental performances from the whole group and rich vocals from the man himself, great hooks, R&B influences, and strong drum beats with a refreshingly subtle western gothic undertone. Hunlo’s music demands you move your hips, and the audience was more than happy to oblige. I am looking forward to seeing more from him in the future. 

Elijah Johnston is an incredibly clean singer with incredibly clean backup musicians. Everything about the concert was neat and tidy, almost too neat and tidy. It felt at times more akin to a performance than a concert. It would be great to see Johnston come even more out of his shell, he clearly has the musical talent and skills. I want to see him have more fun with those skills. 

Elijah Johnston at the Georgia Theatre

The two highlights of Johnston’s performance were “Molly Haskell” and “Downtown Living.” Johnston won the Vic Chesnutt Songwriter of the Year Award for “Molly Haskell” in 2022, and for good reason. Molly Haskell is a quintessential warm and sunny love song with a solid hook, upbeat vibe and great lyrics, it’s a great song to dance with someone too. 

“Downtown Living” was the strongest performance of the night. You could feel the band and the audience come alive with this newer slightly more rock and roll material. Up until “Downtown Living,” the performance was mostly quite mellow, and the atmosphere felt calmer with many of the songs blending into one another. But everyone came alive with “Downtown Living.” I hope to see Elijah Johnston continue to pursue this edgier sound in the future—it suits him.