Jaded Inc >> Friday night, I put on my hipster cap and made my way to SF’s mission district for the Mayer Hawthorne show at The Chapel.
Before I get too into the show let me first sing my praises of The Chapel. Such an awesome and unique venue. It is exactly what it sounds like: a church; choir loft, 40 feet high vaulted ceilings and a small intimate main floor perfect for a congregation at any performance. Add in amazing acoustics, lighting and a top notch full service bar with incredibly reasonable and legit cocktails, it’s pretty hard to beat no matter who is on stage. If you’re ever in SF, go see a show there.
Speaking of who was on stage, I thought it was going to be Mayer Hawthorne who’s hits like ‘The Walk’ and ‘Ain’t Gonna Work Out’ had me ready for his established mix of crooning to R&B and Soul with some Hip-Hop undertones. It turns out this show was his new collaboration with 14KT called Jaded Incorporated. They call their sound Beat Wave which consisted of the pair standing on stage five feet apart behind computers and drum machines. Unfortunately, in my opinion, Daft Punk they are not. I have a MacBook too, but no one wants to pay to see me stand on stage and hit buttons either.
Some songs had little to no singing and the beats seemed rudimentary and robotic, reminiscent of bad 80s Synth-Pop. At times I could feel the crowd looking around and trying to figure out what was going on just as I was, and the show suffered and felt disconnected.
Don’t get me wrong it wasn’t all bad. Songs that featured more of Hawthorne’s signature voice like ‘Monster’ had the crowd back engaged. They also did a killer cover of Flock of Seagulls’ ‘I Ran’ that had me channeling Harry in Dumb and Dumber yelling at the stage, ‘Then you go and do something like this…AND TOTALLY REDEEM YOURSELF!’
Overall, I am still very glad I went. I get it, these guys are artists, they try new things and I respect the hell out of that. It doesn’t mean they always work or that they have to stick with it forever. Hey, Michael Jordan played baseball for a year but eventually realized his true gift was still on the hardwood. Here’s hoping Mayer Hawthorne can realize the same and returns his focus to singing in the years to come.