Live: John Mayer/The Night Game

CYNTHIA WOODS MITCHELL PAVILION — 8/6/17: John Mayer, on tour to promote his new album The Search For Everything, with newest single “Still Feel Like Your Man” on the radio right now, performed this past Sunday in The Woodlands, Texas, out at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion.

The multifaceted American singer songwriter, who’s best known for his Grammy Award-winning album Continuum, has become seasoned, maturing into an artist that embraces a road of reflections. I’ve always thought the disconnect we have toward progression and the fact that we are humans changing over time was strange. We sometimes get focused on ideas and routines, even though the facts around us change and develop. The Search For Everything is a perfect example of how to illustrate that concept artfully, with a real sense of ease and warmth. The pop aesthetic isn’t lost in the process but gains a new level of subtlety for Mayer, something like the equivalent of going from country to smooth jazz.

Mayer walked onto the stage looking like a sly dog to the crowd, ecstatic and pumped to get smooth-jazzed. Appearing as a silhouette among the lights and opening up with his single “Belief,” he preyed on the anticipation of the moment, and the roar of the crowd became overwhelming.

Now, to give an honest review here, I have to admit I’ve never been much of a fan of John Mayer and have always thought of him as a “Dad Rock” enthusiast, like a staleness in the back of one’s mouth that tastes like Eric Clapton’s guitar solos. I think I just always saw him as a stereotypical stoner high school student who decided that he wanted to become a musician because of some band’s VH1 biography from the ’70s.

Watching him live, however, was an entirely different experience than what my expectations had prepared me for. On stage, in his element, there is a true vitality, and even coming into experience a skeptic, I left with nothing but respect for his showmanship and craft. For a tour supporting an album that explores maturity and observation, it made perfect sense that Mayer commanded the stage and masterfully emanated energy into the crowd the entire night.

Opening band The Night Game was reminiscent of a young Men at Work or a modern post-New Wave band. Touring on their newest single “The Outfield,” produced by Grammy Award winner Francois Tétaz, who has worked bands such as Gotye, Kimbra, Architecture in Helsinki, Bertie Blackman, Lior, Sally Seltmann, Chunky Move, Darrin Verhagen, and Paul Schutze.

Lead singer Martin Johnson (formerly of Boyz Like Girls) has co-written songs with the likes of Taylor Swift, Miley Cyrus, Avril Lavigne, Jason Derulo, and Pentatonix. The band was energetic and even manic at times and (bonus) upon investigating their Instagram feed, it seem that they are Buc-ee’s Gas Stop fans. Their performance was sonically pleasing and enthusiastic, coming with a youthful energy that could convince you that it was their first big show. END

(Photos [top to bottom]: John Mayer; Isaiah Sharkey. All photos by Marshall Forse Walker.)

 


Live review by . Live review posted Sunday, August 13th, 2017. Filed under Features, Live Reviews.

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