Mayer Hawthorne Woos Terminal 5 on Friday NightJune 27th, 2016
Mayer Hawthrone – Terminal 5 – June 24, 2016
Ladies, you have been warned: The smooth stylings of one Mayer Hawthorne will undoubtedly enamor you. The swoon-worthy crooner’s rise to heartthrob status came not as a member of a boy band, but as a DJ in the clubs of Detroit and Los Angeles. Despite no vocal training, fellow producer—and head of Stones Throw Records—Peanut Butter Wolf insisted Hawthorne cut an album after hearing tracks he had produced for sampling purposes. The reluctant singer only conceded when the request for his first single to be pressed as a heart-shaped record was fulfilled. With the spring release of Man About Town, Hawthorne returned following a three-year break between studio albums.
Taking a place on a stool with his back to the crowd sipping one could only guess was “Henny & Gingerale,” the suave entertainer lifted his falsetto to open Friday evening’s show at Terminal 5 with “Breakfast in Bed.” Hawthorne quickly got down to business, explaining that with four albums, he had a lot of songs to sing so he would ease up on the banter. Hawthorne broke from his feverish song output to tell a story about hitting the beach in Malibu, Calif., which slyly gave way to sirens and a perfect intro to “Crime.” An instrumental interlude provided a moment for a wardrobe change, as Hawthorne returned donning his signature glasses and a gold blazer with matching oxfords.
After a rendition of “Your Easy Lovin’ Ain’t Pleasin’ Nothin’,” there was a great desire for “soul Mayer,” which the singer happily obliged, asking his band to kick it up to “James Brown–jumpsuit speed.” What proceeded was a Motown-inspired trifecta of “You Called Me,” “Hooked” and “The Ills.” In another exceptional moment near the set’s end, a cover of Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way” was cleverly mashed-up with “The Walk” and then into another cover, Brenton Wood’s “Gimme Little Sign.” It’s easy to hear the DJ’s craft on the set. For his encore, the disco ball was lit to set the appropriate scenery for “Cosmic Love,” and another outfit was revealed to the delight of female admirers. This time an open checker satin button-down was accessorized with a gold chain. Hawthorne capped off the night with a final cover of Tears for Fears’ “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” that had revelers happily flooding out into Hell’s Kitchen. —Sharlene Chiu