Mayer Hawthorne is mostly all about love. Are you in love? Out of love? Don’t want to hear about love? Hawthorne’s got some other topics, but generally he touches fans with something they can all relate to in some way. And as Hawthorne himself put it as he introduced the song “No Strings,” “It’s not always about love – sometimes it’s about sexy time.”
Hawthorne, originally from Michigan but now making his home in Los Angeles, may have started out doing other kinds of music, and yet it turned out he also had an excellent voice for soul music. 2009 gave us A Strange Arrangement, Hawthorne’s debut, which included true gems such as “I Wish It Would Rain” and “Shiny & New.” Last year’s release, How Do You Do, again captured the soul Motown feel with “A Long Time,” “The Walk,” and “No Strings.” I caught on to Mayer Hawthorne last year, then saw him open for Foster the People last summer, and naturally was smitten.
The Neptune appearance was Hawthorne’s first headlining show in Seattle. Fans were totally involved in his performance. They followed Hawthorne’s hand movements as he sang “I Wish It Would Rain” and when he asked them to copy his moves, “Really sexy, like Diana Ross!” they did. He utilized a large leather armchair onstage during a cool rendition of “I’ve Got a Crush on You,” and then made use of the chair again by turning it away from the audience to have his photo taken with the audience. Hawthorne also posed for audience photos, and then after telling them, “picture time is over,” he went into “Dreaming,” alerting them to put their phones and cameras away as those who were not here “don’t get to see the video. They fucked up and didn’t come to the show.” He did it all with a sense of humor. He also did a sweet cover of Hall & Oates’ “You Make My Dreams.”
With an extraordinary band and super setlist including “Wish It Would Rain,” “Shiny & New,” “The Walk,” (where he emphasized after but your shitty fucking attitude has got me changing my mind with “that’s right bitch”) “Just Ain’t Gonna Work Out” and “Get To Know You,” Hawthorne definitely made the audience happy. For his final song he performed “Henny & Gingerale” a wickedly groovy bonus song off How Do You Do. The Seattle show was the last show of the tour, and the fun factor was high.