Mike Posner debuts at House of Blues

A review of Mike Posner at the House of Blues on October 11, 2010

, Managing Editor

Behind the success of one of this summer’s biggest hits, “Cooler Than Me”, recent Duke grad Mike Posner touched down at the House of Blues on Monday for his “Up In The Air” Tour.

Although his debut album, 31 Minutes To Takeoff, was released to mixed reviews, Posner has been praised for his eclectic mix of beats and sampling. The rising star mixes elements of pop, hip hop, dance, electronica, R&B and rock. However, it becomes quite clear from crowd reactions to his songs that his work almost entirely fits into the same structure. It seemed that each performance included nimble verses that built to a highly anticipated, synth-driven chorus that put fans hands in the air every time.

With a constant structure, what keeps the sound of a Mike Posner show fresh is how he gets to those vibrant choruses. “Do U Wanna?” featured a smooth R&B sound, complimented nicely with a sample of Ray LaMontagne’s “You Are the Best Thing” horns. “Bow Chicka Wow Wow” lived up to its name as a hot little jam, complete with a rock flavor thanks to a blistering guitar solo. Posner also went nearly straight-up pop with his breakup song “Gone In September”. Still, what will keep his show even fresher are better ideas for keeping fans engaged between songs.

The ladies love Posner because he’s a suave guy but one thing that could be smoother is his transitions. The young showman wasted a lot of time with cheering “games” in particular. A lot of artists point the mic at fans and try to draw the cheers to a max but Posner relied on it too often and for too long, to the point where it actually seemed to tucker some fans out. By the time Posner returned for his encore of “Cooler Than Me” it seemed fans were too worn out to really enjoy it fully, as tunes like “You Don’t Have to Leave” and “Evil Woman” (inspired by the ELO tune) were actually able to create more buzz on the floor earlier in the show.

Posner may have gone overboard a bit with the crowd-play but he gets a slight pass for being a newly successful artist and completely genuine. Posner took his time surveying the crowd but the smile that he had on his face the whole time certainly portrayed the joy his fans bring him. At one point during the show Posner stopped and stated, “excuse my language but it’s safe to say that Boston has taken a shit on every other city on this tour so far…I love you guys, and I’m not some douchebag artist who says that and doesn’t mean it.” He displayed a passion that was certainly believable.

The young beatmaker had some hits and misses during the show but (assuming his creative edge doesn’t whither) once he works the kinks out of his set, a Mike Posner show should always be the biggest party in town for years to come.

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