Tag Archives: John Mayer

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Zane Carney Wins Over Mercury Lounge Crowd with Passion

July 1st, 2016

Zane Carney – Mercury Lounge – June 30, 2016

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Nothing like spending a sweet summer night with the very talented singer-songwriter and oh, so smooth guitarist Zane Carney. He’s known for his work with John Mayer, the Broadway musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark and the band Carney, alongside his brother, Reeve. Plus, his guitar work and songwriting skills have afforded him the opportunity to play with an enviable list of musicians.

As he went onstage last night at Mercury Lounge, the lights dimmed to an appropriately dusky fade. Carney played the intro to “You’re Not the One” and the crowd fell into silence, a shivers-down-the-spine moment. He spoke of a new, polished look, which was a recent haircut—beyond his musical skills, Carney had been most known for his long locks.

Playing material from his debut EP, Confluence, and a few new songs he hadn’t previously performed, Carney used various guitar pedals to make rhythmic loops while expertly wailing on his guitar and adding a touch of that D’Angelo neo soul. Flowing from one song into the next, he covered Johns Lennon’s “Jealous Guy,” injecting his own sound while keeping the original’s bittersweet melancholy. And by the end of the night, Carney had won over everyone there with his passionate performance. —Karen Silva | @ClassicKaren

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John Mayer Ends Tour at Barclays Center

December 18th, 2013

John Mayer/Phillip Phillips – Barclays Center – December 17, 2013


Barclays Center welcomed thousands last night for the final performance of John Mayer’s Born and Raised tour. Phillip Phillips kicked off the night with some standout numbers from his debut album, World from the Side of the Moon. It’s no wonder he took the title of American Idol in the show’s eleventh season. Phillips’ stage presence instantly won over the audience, as did his soulful warbling. “Home” and “Where We Came From,” two crowd favorites, highlighted the set. Phillips also gave a husky-voiced performance of the Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby,” which got the crowd singing along before he did some serious justice to Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” by lending his throaty twang to the rapper’s anthem.

Mayer strode onstage flanked by some exceptionally talented musicians and supporting vocalists. The stage was backlit with a brilliant landscape depicting a desert at dusk, which morphed throughout the performance. The band launched into “Queen of California.” Mayer expressed that had created a set list that would take us on a journey, and he emphasized his gratitude for his talented bandmates. “Half of My Heart” and “I Don’t Trust Myself (With Loving You)” followed, punctuated by Mayer’s extensive guitar solos. “Why Georgia” brought on a wave of nostalgic cheers, and Mayer directed the song’s chorus to the audience, asking, “Are you living it right?” He then brandished a harmonica for the forlorn ballad “Whiskey, Whiskey, Whiskey.” “Who Says” and “Speak for Me” provided an optimistic upswing as the band hit their stride in the extensive set. “Slow Dancing in a Burning Room” briefly dipped back into melancholy before the cheerful melodies and earnest crooning in “Walt Grace’s Submarine Test, January 1967” and “Wildfire” swept us up once again. “Waiting on the World to Change” had the audience cheering instantly, to which Mayer gratefully responded, “I don’t know what I did to deserve you all.” An elongated “If I Ever Get Around to Living” ended with Mayer playing two guitars at once. And then the band closed the set with “The Age of Worry” and “Dear Marie.”

The crowd wasted no time cheering for an encore and voicing their enthusiasm for a certain special guest: Katy Perry. The pop songstress and Mayer had just released a music video for “Who You Love,” and the real-life couple have an easygoing kind of chemistry onstage that is much more relatable than their über-romantic onscreen version. Perry quickly kissed Mayer goodbye as he played a Christmas medley and rounded out the night with a triumphant rendition of “Gravity.” At the end of it all, Mayer was hunched over his guitar on the floor of the stage, beaming at the audience. And as someone who saw him perform more than a decade ago toward the beginning of his career, I can say without a doubt that he’s grown to be one of the best live performers out there. —Schuyler Rooth

Photos courtesy of Greg Pallante | gregpallante.com

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A Cathartic Night with Daughter at The Bowery Ballroom

May 1st, 2013

Daughter – The Bowery Ballroom – April 30, 2013


When Katy Perry name-drops one of your tracks in a tweet about her recent breakup with serial dater John Mayer, people will take notice. The British trio Daughter emerged with lead singer Elena Tonra’s delicately acoustic songs and bloomed with the addition of guitarist Igor Haefeli and drummer Remi Aguilella. Playing the first of two sold-out shows at The Bowery Ballroom last night, Tonra remarked, “I’m going to make sure I’m in tune.” The three began the evening with “In the Shallows” and followed with the appropriately celebratory “Candles,” on the day their debut album, If You Leave, was released.

The group’s music melds heart-aching lyrics with a slow build of discontent into a crescendo of fury and hate. On “Still,” Tonra chanted: “Two feet standing on a principle/ Two hands longing for each others warmth/ Cold smoke seeping out of colder throats/ Darkness falling, leaves nowhere to go,” while Aguilella thumped on the kick drum and Haefeli created a chamber of reverb from his electric guitar. The crowd erupted for the aforementioned celebrity breakup song, “Landfill.” And in between thanking the audience, Tonra confessed that on her trip over to the States she came close to popping her eardrum. She hadn’t, thankfully, and was supplied with some medication that left her in a euphoric mood, which was quite the antithesis of the songs “Run” and “Smother.”

As the show neared its end, the best was saved for last as fan-favorite “Youth” drew in the onlookers to sing along to a chorus of “You caused it.” Closing the set with “Home,” the choral echoes of “Take me, take me, home” reminded me of the Welsh artist “Jem’s Save Me,” with its similar repetitive phrasing delivered in an almost yodel. The threesome returned for a special encore—a mash-up of Bon Iver’s “Perth and Hot Chip’s “Ready for the Floor,” which beautifully reimagined the two tracks as a slow dance party in a log cabin. Although the night was a downtempo breakup extravaganza, no one left with a broken heart as couples exited hand in hand from the instant catharsis. —Sharlene Chiu

(Watch Daughter do a stripped-down version of “Youth” and an interview with The Bowery Presents Live.)

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Such a Night

October 4th, 2012

Love for Levon: A Benefit to Save the Barn – Izod Center – October 3, 2012


Levon Helm is a towering figure in American music and the main reason a band, well the Band, that was actually four-fifths Canadian could be considered quintessentially American. After Helm was diagnosed with cancer, he began hosting Midnight Rambles at his home barn/studio—ridiculously intimate affairs filled with music that kept onlookers smiling for days. And despite Helm’s passing, it was clear that the barn and the Rambles would continue. But, of course, there are bills to pay. So last night at the Izod Center, a monumental group of performers—those who had worked with the Band, performed with Helm or appeared at one of those fabled Rambles—gathered to pay tribute to the musical icon and help raise money to finally pay off the barn.

There were far too many talented people involved to list everyone, but the night started with a bang as Warren Haynes, backed by the Dirt Farmer Band, did a rousing version of “The Shape I’m In” before Gregg Allman joined him for a riveting “Long Black Veil.” From there a cavalcade of stars, including Bruce Hornsby, Jorma Kaukonen, Marc Cohn, the Wallflowers and Allen Toussaint, appeared. Lucinda Williams said, “God bless, Levon Helm. His spirit lives on,” after concluding “Whispering Pines.” And then the fist set closed with John Hiatt and Mike Gordon doing a lively “Rag Mama Rag.”

And while that first set was particularly great, the second one was something special. Highlights included Ray LaMontagne and John Mayer on “Tears of Rage,” the Dierks Bentley–led “Chest Fever,” with Garth Hudson laying down the winding “Genetic Method” organ intro, and Larry Campbell eliciting a big crowd response to the “Drink all day, rock all night” line in “Tennessee Jed” as Mayer rode shotgun on guitar. Then somehow the ante got upped once again. First, a jammy “Up on Cripple Creek” with Joe Walsh and Robert Randolph (“Jersey boys are here,” proclaimed Walsh), and then the house band ceded the stage to My Morning Jacket.

The five-piece launched into “Ophelia,” with the crowd throatily singing along, and “It Makes No Difference” before bringing out Roger Waters and G.E. Smith for “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.” Of course all of this was just a lead up to the night’s inevitable conclusion, everyone onstage for “The Weight.” Longtime Levon Helm Band members Campbell, Teresa Williams and Amy Helm rightfully took the first verse, accompanied only by Campbell’s guitar. And then Mavis Staples sang, and then Allman and Haynes. And then Grace Potter, Eric Church, John Prine, Jim James and everyone else took turns trading verses across the stage, before turning to Waters, center stage, singing, “You know I’m a peaceful man,” with smiles everywhere. It was hard to tell who was having more fun, the people in the crowd or those onstage. It was just one of those nights. —R. Zizmor | @Hand_Dog

Photos courtesy of Joe Papeo | www.irocktheshot.com