I have to give a shout to the two acts I caught at the Fox Theatre last night. Mayer Hawthorne was the headliner, preceded by local hip-hop band Air Dubai and NYC indie-dance group Gordon Voidwell.
Now Air Dubai is always worth watching — this I know from experience — but I didn't realize they were on the bill until their set had already ended. I got to the Fox at the beginning of Gordon Voidwell's set, and from then on the concert was a crazy dance party. I was blown away. I can't say enough good things about these two acts.
I only first heard Mayer Hawthorne's music a few days before the show. I think the best way to describe it is indie-soul: Think Motown, but white and hipster. His album, A Strange Arrangement, is a dozen or so tracks of altogether pleasant soul music throwing back to the best of Smokey Robinson and company. It's altogether a pretty low-key affair, subtly produced and filled with clever songwriting and "doo-doo-waaah" backup vocals.
So it was kind of a surprise when Mayer came on stage last night, decked in a red blazer with a white button-down shirt, and said something like, "Everyone who doesn't want to dance, get to the back of the room." His set was extremely tight, with the guitarist and the keyboard player providing the bulk of the backup vocals. And it was considerably higher-energy than his album. The whole place was moving the whole night. It was a pleasant surprise considering his low-key recorded stuff. His album is something you could listen to while making sweet, sweet love under candlelight upon a bed strewn with rose petals; his live show was something you'd bring your partying A-Team to and get wasted and dance your ass off all night.
The opener, Gordon Voidwell, was almost more interesting. The NYC quartet is a dance-heavy electronic act — think TV On The Radio meets MGMT. They had two drummers — it looked like one was working on an electronic kit and the other on a traditional one, though the electronic snare overpowered the acoustic one for most of the set —a synth and the singer, who himself had some sort of mini-keyboard. Totally low-key, but the synth player manager to create an entire soundscape for the singer, and the set was a resounding success. The band announced it was giving away CDs at the merch table, and they were gone before the end of the show.
Add another two acts to the "can't-miss" list. These two bands are loads of fun.