Mayer Hawthorne at Corona Theatre

26 May 2012

Mayer Hawthorne and The County played to a full house at The Corona Theatre in Montreal last night and did not disappoint, bringing their Motown swagger and good times great oldies vibe. Hawthorne was decked out in a red tux (in solidarity with la CLASSE?) and Air Jordans and showcased songs from his latest album How Do You Do? and his breakout record A Strange Arrangement.

The Hawth does such an amazing job of getting the crowd involved with singalongs, call-and-response exchanges, and choreographed hand motions, that it’s impossible not to get caught up in the music. Critics call him a “throwback” artist, which some say is a schtick or comes off as phony, but I find it genuine and authentic – rather than simply copying singers of old, Hawthorne’s music can be seen as an homage, using Motown and soul as inspiration for reviving the craft of live performance. Perhaps the fact that he grew up in the Detroit area adds credence to his music, but the bottom line is that Hawthorne wants to put on a “show” and truly entertain, and entertain us he did. He had a J-Dilla interlude and a Hall & Oates breakdown for Christ’s sake! He let us take photos of him holding a bouquet of flowers and took a picture of us for his Twitter account, and then politely asked everyone to put our cameras away and “pretend” we were at a show enjoying it in “real time”. We danced non stop, I spilt beer on some girl and her chum wanted to beat me up for a split second before remembering he was in a happy place. The vibes were too good for anyone to stay mad for long.

Mayer Hawthorne is a gentleman and the ladies clearly love him. His set was tight, he hit all of his notes with ease and his backing band was perfect. My only critique is the same one I made when I first saw him in Toronto in 2009 – he needs horns and two large black ladies doing back up vocals! Other than that, a helluva live show and a great weekend. Peace.

*photo by Jacquelyn Taylor*

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