Mayer Hawthorne delivers soulful show

A review of Mayer Hawthorne at the Paradise Rock Club on October 19, 2010

, Managing Editor

There are many sides to the Renaissance man by the name of Andrew Mayer Cohen. He’s a singer, rapper, producer, songwriter, and on and on. At the Paradise Rock Club on Tuesday night, fans were treated to his smooth, soulful persona Mayer Hawthorne as he stopped in town with his band The County.

There was a bit of a Weezer vibe to the show despite the differing genres thanks to the “M” and “H” letter lights behind the band and Hawthorne’s boyish looks and thick rimmed glasses that closely resemble that of Rivers Cuomo. Although, his resemblance to Tobey Maguire became clear as well after the singer told a story about an airport security following him around so he could tell him how much he “loved him in ‘Spiderman’”.

It’s the way Hawthorne looks that makes his voice so striking. He packs a lot of soul into his modest frame and has a howl reminiscent of some of Motown’s legendary voices. In a way Hawthorne is going after the same soul-throwback chic that Boston’s own Eli “Paperboy” Reed is known for, yet Hawthorne comes off more Smokey Robinson as opposed to Reed’s channeling of James Brown.

What’s so stylish about Hawthorne is the way he mixes contemporary flavor into his classic sound. He smoothly segued his own “Maybe So, Maybe No” into Snoop Dogg’s “Gangsta Luv” early in his set and then hit up the D-O-Double G again after his funky new track “No Strings” found it’s way into Snoop’s “Beautiful”. The latter in which Hawthorne hit Pharrell’s difficult falsetto perfectly.

The soul singer certainly has the falsetto down, proving it once again during “Just Ain’t Gonna Work Out” after he tried playing matchmaker for the singles in the audience. Immediately following, he made it even easier for folks to get together as he drew fans towards the stage and busted out his lively hit “The Ills” for the closer.

Who knows how much of Andrew Mayer Cohen really shows through in Mayer Hawthorne, but as the star said early on, “This is a show, not a concert”. Whatever you want to call it, it was surely entertaining and with a new album in the works perhaps we’ll get to know Mayer Hawthorne a little better next time around.

UK’s The Heavy brought the funk early as they opened the show with a fun set that capped off with their widely used “How You Like Me Now?”. As if the Paradise weren’t hot enough already, singer Kelvin Swaby made sure fans were jumping around and heating up as much as his sweaty self.

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