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Live Review: Mayer Hawthorne – 7th October 2013 – Heaven Club, London, UK

3 min read

The Heaven Club in London has the ability to create the largest sounds from the smallest band line-ups with the club PA system it houses in the relatively small space of the club floor. I went to see Mayer Hawthorne attempt to use this feature of the venue.

Norma Jean Martine opened for Hawthorne – starting with a blinding blue light silhouetting the young lady sitting alone on stage behind the piano. Her first song was a beautiful track with vocals that sounded like a mixture of Lana Del Ray and Adele over lovely piano playing. This style continued on until she was joined on stage by a semi-acoustic backing band, featuring two guitarists and a percussionist. At this point a pleasant dash of Florence & The Machine was added in, truly attracting my attention to the fantastic American singer-songwriter.

When it was time for Mayer Hawthorne to come on stage his band first entered, playing a hip-hop style intro where disembodied voice got the crowd riled up for the front man about to come on stage, when he did the band burst energetically into their first song. For the first while of the set, more specifically the first 2 or 3 songs, everything was rather entertaining – as I was under the assumption that the “dapper” suit and the cheesy dancing was an ironic gimmick, but I quickly realized that this was what Hawthorne and his band genuinely thought looked good. The band technically played well, with all instrumental parts being played with precision and skill, and all of Mayer’s vocal lines being well executed – this was hard to enjoy for me however, with everything that they did just seeming to have the vibe of a wedding band where the cringey Dad dancing was being done on the stage instead of in front of it. This didn’t seem to bother much of the rest of the audience however, so it may just be a case of me losing my taste for such stage acts.

To continue with the theme of technically correct, but not really my thing, the band played a stream of well done disco-funk songs that despite the instrumental skill that was being displayed – just came across as dated.  When the band finally played the one song that I knew and was certain that I liked (near the end of their set) it sounded completely different to the recording that I had heard and had been changed from a mean and sexy funk-rock song to just another generic track that seemed more “Shabby Chic” than actual Chic.

All in all I’d say that I only didn’t enjoy the event all that much because I went in expecting something like what I had heard in the song “Her Favourite Song” – a track that I’ve already mentioned for being dark and sexy – but instead found myself listening to forgettable song after forgettable song. I’d say that the only thing that really held it all up for me was the fantastic opening performance by Norma Jean Martine – not so much the Mayer Hawthorne side of the gig.

Set List:

1 – Physicality
2 – Back Seat Lover
3 – A Long Time
4 – Henny & GingerAle
5 – Designer Drug
6 – Love In Motion
7 – No Strings
8 – The Innocent
9 – Green Eyed Love
10 – Allie Jones
11 – Crime
12 – Get To Know You
13 – Wish It Would Rain
14 – Stars Are Ours
15 – Corsican
16 – Her Favourite Song
17 – I Can’t Go For That
18 – The Walk
19 – Wine Glass
20 – Where Does This Door Go?

1 thought on “Live Review: Mayer Hawthorne – 7th October 2013 – Heaven Club, London, UK

  1. Not sure I would agree there Nick. It was my first time seeing Mayer on Monday night and I guess you were a bit disadvantaged by not knowing more of his work. Speaking as a big fan, and to all other fans, it was everything I wanted it to be. Not sure the comments about the ‘Dad Dancing’ are relevant, I went to hear the tracks I love performed by an artist I rate highly. I didn’t leave disappointed. Incidentally, I took a mate who knew nothing of his work beforehand, who loved it and has insisted I burn him a CD. It’s all subjective I guess…

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