Everyone’s favorite Man About Town, Mayer Hawthorne, two-stepped his way into NYC this past Friday, and put on a show at Terminal 5 that everyone couldn’t seem to stop talking about afterward. Along with his 5-piece ensemble, Hawthorne compiled a lengthy set of career spanning tunes, including a few covers that got the crowd moving nonstop.
Before everyone got the chance to groove to the Mayer, Gabriel Garzón-Montano opened the night with his funky, keyboard driven soul music. In the past, I have seen him perform with a live drummer, but on this night, he singlehandedly covered all those bases, with the help of strategically placed synths. With his left hand on the bass keys and the right filling in the rest, his set included many of the tunes from his 2014 release, Bishouné: Alma del Huila, a cover of Prince’s “She’s Always In My Hair,” plus a new song entitled “Fruitflies,” scheduled for release soon. With his keyboard and portions of the stage draped in flowers of various shapes and sizes, the colorful backdrop was a beautiful accompaniment to the intricacies and soulful sway of the music.
For Mayer’s set, a bottle of what I assumed was Hennessey sat atop an amp, Mayer, with his brimmed hat shielding his eyes, sipped leisurely from his glass. The music swirled around him as he transformed into a master showman.
But this is not always the Andrew Mayer Cohen I once knew. I met him in LA many years ago when he was still DJ Haircut. His talent was just as evident back then as it was now, but I had no idea he could sing, let alone sing this well. To hear him hit all the high notes on “Get You Back” just floored me. Watching him command the stage, trading note for note with Jimi James, racing around the stage with his guitarist Christian Wunderlich and bassist Joe Abrams, or just watching him play keys or guitar himself was a treat.
During the show, there was also a lot of crowd involvement, some singing along loudly, participating in the “raindrop spirit fingers” on “I Wish That It Would Rain,” and even a few couples slow dancing throughout the night. The disco ball also got used quite a bit, casting “stars” around the room at the perfect time.
With 3 outfit changes – from black suit, to shiny suit + his trademark glasses, to plain clothes with shirt open – Mayer and his band kept the energy flowing and the crowd fully engaged. With covers of Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way,” that segued perfectly into his own hit, “The Walk,” to an incredible cover of Tears For Fears’ “Everybody Wants To Rule The World,” to close out a fantastic night of music, it felt like it ended far too soon. This is the kind of show that you definitely felt you got your money’s worth and then some. This is the kind of show that is quite a rarity in today’s music. The influences of Holland-Dozier-Holland, Issac Hayes, Curtis Mayfield, and the like are evident on his throwback sound, but the incorporation of additional influences like the late, great, J. Dilla keeps him from sounding dated and unoriginal. There’s seemingly something for everyone, either on a record or at one of his shows. I’d advise you not to miss him the next time he rolls through your town. You’re guaranteed to have a great time without thinking about pulling out your phone to Snapchat even once.
Article: Lesley Keller