April 6, 2002
A clean-cut crowd sold out Bridges Auditorium on Saturday to see John Mayer, the 24-year-old singer/songwriter whose boy-next-door charm and catchy, upbeat melodies have fueled the ascent of his debut CD, Room For Squares.
Opening with “3 x 5” (his favorite tune), Mayer played nearly every track from the CD, with the kind of crossover appeal that is likely to earn him a high position on the Billboard charts. Squares, a disc that only a few months ago was largely unknown, is one of this week’s greatest gainers, jumping 23 spots to #38 — with no end in sight.
Most impressive is Mayer’s ability to switch effortlessly between acoustic and electric guitar throughout his set, and temper his part so not to overwhelm his lyrics, which cover the sensual (“Your Body is a Wonderland”) to the introspective (“My Stupid Mouth”). The latter, played second during his 75-minute set, brought the singing crowd to its feet — and they knew every word.
Mayer’s younger fans, drawn to his age-specific lyrics, will compare his music to that of Dave Matthews and David Gray. But Mayer’s voice is more polished, tending to stick to his charts rather than drift into jamming — a dimension that could add an element of raw passion to his tour. With more time on the road and a bigger cache of songs, Mayer will naturally improvise and play from his heart, seducing his audience into his best music.
Meanwhile, his radio-friendly sound appeals to the thirtysomething set, too. Proof? A voice from the auditorium called for “Free Bird,” with Mayer acknowledging the request came from a fan that followed him on tour. There was also a round of applause as he began Eric Clapton’s “Old Love.”
Highlights of the evening included the previously unreleased “This Will All Make Perfect Sense,” an ’80s pop medley and touching rendition of “Comfortable” from Mayer’s independent release Inside Wants Out.
Raised in Connecticut, John Mayer seems to have risen from nowhere. But a tight, inspired repertoire, the hit single “No Such Thing,” and a world tour could make him 2002’s brightest young talent.
Setlist: 3×5; My Stupid Mouth; Why Georgia; City Love; This Will All Make Perfect Sense; Old Love (Solo Electric) Love Soon; Love Song For No One; No Such Thing (Always On Time intro); Your Body Is a Wonderland; Back To You; Not Myself; Neon.
Encore: 83 (My Buddy/Diff’rent Strokes intro | Girls Just Wanna Have Fun/Let’s Hear it For The Boy outro) Comfortable (Solo Acoustic)
Brett M. Davidson
Spaceland, Silverlake, CA
February 22, 2002
Adam West flew in from DC to play small clubs from San Diego to LA to San Francisco. When I talked to lead singer Jake Starr outside of Spaceland he told me that after the show they were hitting the road for San Diego and then going up to San Francisco. Tough schedule, but he was happy be doing what he loves. “I like my job cause it pays enough that I can be a rock n roll star in my off time.” He said with a grin. Once they hit the stage inside of Spaceland they performed like the rock gods they are. The were the first band and the crowd was sparse, but that didn’t stop the band from drawing people to the front of the stage with the raw power of hard guitars and Starr’s demanding voice. As the club filled up the band held the attention of just about everybody in the club and got a thunderous round of applause as they packed up their gear and got read for the trip down south.