"Boston, I don't know what you're waiting for -- but we're the headliners."
Mayer Hawthorne's tongue-in-cheek comment at the start of his set to make some noise goaded Boston off their feet and cheering last Thursday night, February 8th at Brighton Music Hall. If you're at Brighton Music Hall, chances are you're already on your feet at the majorly SRO-venue, but in any case, it jolted the crowd awake and snapped them out of their cool, hipster apathy.
WFNX, Corona and Malibu Black sponsored the free show. The opening band, The Sterns, a native Boston band opened for Mayer Hawthorne and the County, the suit-donning, jazzy-soul-throwback band who kick off their World Tour on Feb 23rd in Auckland to celebrate the late-2011 release of their album How Do You Do.
Born in Ann Arbor, MI, outside of Detroit, the 33-year old lead singer Mayer Hawthorne (born Andrew Mayer Cohen) incredibly has no formal training, and, up until a couple years ago, had no hopes of taking his music public. It took only two songs for Stones Throw Record head man Peanut Butter Wolf to sign Mayer Hawthorne, resulting in his debut album A Strange Arrangement, highlights of which include "I Wish That It Would Rain" and "Green-Eyed Love" both performed last Thursday night.
After releasing his first debut album, every major record label was busting down Mayer Hawthorne's door to sign him. With only a month to go until his sophomore album release date last year, Mayer jumped ship from Stones Throw and signed with Universal Republic, a decision he attributes to the fact that Universal Republic understood his vision and music clearly. Key tracks from the album include "No Strings," "The Walk," and "Just Ain't Gonna Work Out" also featured at the show.
As a performer, Mayer Hawthorne breathes class and soul. With a hair-pin-turning falsetto and unapologetic attitude, he takes us back in time when a love song was really a love song, not a mangled pelvic thrust of synthesized beats and cheap, contrived lyrics. His bandmates ooze the same cool cat vibe with their mixture of matching grey suits, big hair, and opaque sunglasses.
Charming and piquant, Mayer Hawthorne declared at one point it was "picture time," during which he swiveled side to side with mock histrionic poses so the crowd could take shot after shot with their SmartPhones. After this segue, he encouraged everyone, "Ok. Picture Time is over. Now we're going to pretend like we're all actually here. In real time. And it doesn't matter if we catch it on video because we were here."*
I encourage you all to see Mayer Hawthorne in real time when they return to Boston at the Paradise with The Stepkids on Saturday, April 21. Doors at 6 PM, All Ages show, Advance Box Office Price $18.
*Note: This is more like a paraphrase.