Obviously this concert review is really late. It took me a week to recover from the swoon-worthy performance and then I was off to the geeky ways of Comic Con. But here it is, better late than never!
I have been trying (and failing) to see Mayer Hawthorne live for years. Yes years. By happenstance, I just kept missing his shows. Not this year. This time I planned around it because I couldn’t bear going another year without seeing this man take the stage. Yeah, Hawthorne opened for Foster the People that night but I only had eyes for him. Foster the who?
I don’t even remember how I stumbled upon his music but the very first time I heard his debut single “Just Ain’t Gonna Work Out” / “When I Said Goodbye” I was in love with his smooth soul voice and the way he hit those soprano notes like nobody’s business.
I was sincerely surprised at how many kids at this concert not only knew who Mayer Hawthorne was, but also loved his music. Not because it’s not good, but because it’s an entirely different genre of music that isn’t exactly popular with the young kids these days. In my opinion, how can anyone do anything but dance and sing along to his brand of soul music?
The minute he came out in his red suit, bowtie, and black frame glasses, the crowd went wild. Mayer Hawthorne is a bona fide nerd but not a single person in that room could resist his charm. There’s no doubt that he knows what he’s doing up on that stage with his retro sounds, choreographed moves, and fun interactions with the audience.
He started with a song titled, “You Called Me” off of his latest album, How Do You Do, which involved looking into the crowd and holding up his hand in the “call me” motion. You bet I felt like he was looking and pointing right at me as I sang along. But really. I’m pretty sure we locked eyes and he pointed at me because I knew all of the words. Shhh let me have my moment…
Song after song, he had the entire venue in the palm of his hand. While most of his songs are laden with romance, one song in particular, “No Strings”, has nothing to do with it. Hawthorne told the crowd, “Most of my songs are about love but this next song has nothing to do with love. This next song is strictly about sex.”
One thing fans love about Mayer Hawthorne is his photo op. During each and every one of his shows, he pauses to sit in a chair with his back to the audience and has a band mate snap a photo of him with the crowd behind, arms up. He then posts the photos on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram telling everyone in the crowd to tag themselves if they were there. Despite the mass amounts of people at the shows, you can’t help but feel a little special when you see yourself in his photo.
For me, that sums up Mayer Hawthorne. Whether you’re listening to his albums at home alone or seeing him live with thousands of other people, you feel like he’s singing to you. And you want to sing right back. “You’ve got me hooked but I don’t care, cause I don’t wanna go nowhere…”