Just as we were about to get on the Red Line and make our way into Hollywood for the show, The Martini's phone rang. It was Felicia. "His recorded music doesn't do him justice," she said having just seen Mayer Hawthorne & The County the night before in San Francisco. I didn't believe her. A Strange Arrangement was one of my favorite albums of 2009 and continues to make regular appearances in my charts still today. The key reason is because his vocals are impeccable on songs that are infectious. How do you take that to the next level?
With a tight band, dancing girls, and unlimited showmanship and style, apparently. I'd already had my mind blown by Childish Gambino's set of witty rhymes, ridiculous beats, and a violinist that I could've watched and listened to by herself for the rest of the night. (Also, in a sign that I'm no longer as hip as I once was, I hadn't heard any of his songs before while many of the people around us were rapping right along to every word. I'm an Old.) I wasn't prepared for every moment of Mayer's set to be a revelation. From the moment the Mayer-ettes hit the stage halfway through the first song, we fully converted from concert to party and it never let up. Mr. Hawthorne led us through sing-alongs, dance alongs, shared performances, and copious amounts of swooning. Woman and man alike were mesmerized by his voice and his presence.
Maybe we should've known what the night would be like, though. Gordon Voidwell and his band of 80s misfits (seriously, his keyboardist looks like if Sheila E and Sheena Easton had a baby and the entire show was like the deleted scenes from Purple Rain) started the evening cajoling and sometimes taunting what was a stereotypically stoic Los Angeles crowd into dancing. We didn't start out convinced but by their last song we may have done the Molly Ringwald, the running man, the robot, the troop, and the smurf.
So, when at the end of the night I had been doused in beer several times, had to avoid the random elbows and arms of overly excited drunk girls and boys, and felt a little buzzed, overheated, and exhausted, I wasn't surprised. This is what happens at only the best parties.
Thought you knew?