Some musicians are intimated by New York City. Typically, their tours are routed to go all over the place before they even THINK about dipping their pinky toes into the big pond that is The City That Never Sleeps. Mayer Hawthorne, however, chose to dive headfirst into NYC to kick off his tour with his band The County. Crooning to a packed crowd at Webster Hall last night, Hawthorne set the standard for the rest of his tour, which will be pretty high, opening with "Star Time" (a James Brown cover).
From that point forward, Hawthorne had everyone in the audience dancing and swaying to his tunes that are ever so sweet on the ears. I really enjoyed the covers peppered in with the set, bringing older gems to light ("Star Time" and "Don't Mess With Bill") and showcasing that Hawthorne's genre can transform any song and give it more "curb appeal"("Fly or Die"). I will make it a point to say that the show wasn't just about Hawthorne, the harmonies and musicianship that comprise his backup band, The County, really augmented his vocal performance. During "Don't Mess With Bill", band member Topher Moore took the lead on vocals for a bit to prove that he wasn't just there for the occasional "ooooh" or "la la la", but instead was there add more depth and richness to the already smooth voice of Mayer Hawthorne.
Ending his initial set with "The Ills", Hawthorne was commanded back out on stage by fans where he performed "When I Said Goodbye", the b-side on the "Just Ain't Gonna Work Out" single. For Mayer Hawthorne's sake, here's hoping the rest of his tour is as good as this show was. I'm pretty sure that there wasn't a single moment that the crowd wasn't completely into it. Props to him for taking the bull by the horns.
Star Time (James Brown cover)
Make Her Mine
Maybe So, Maybe No
Shiny & New/I Wish It WouldRain
Don't Mess With Bill (The Marvelettes cover)
One Track Mind
Fly or Die (N.E.R.D. cover)
Green Eyed Love
Biz/Just Ain't Gonna
Love Is All Right
When I Said Goodbye
You can check out all the photos on my Flickr.