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......John Mayer launched
his recording career after performing at the South by Southwest music
conference in 2000. Later that year, he released "Room for Squares,"
a Grammy-winning album that spawned several hits, including "No Such
Thing," "Why Georgia" and the sultry "Your Body Is a
Wonderland." Mayer's current tour features songs from his upcoming studio
album, as well as his current live album, "Any Given Thursday." His
song "Not Myself" is featured on the "How To Deal" movie
soundtrack. His creative songwriting and warm
stage presence establish him as a formidable musical force, and the smoky
swagger of his voice at once evokes Sting, Dave Matthews and Jakob Dylan.
Mayer's passion for songwriting is immediately evident for a man known for his
gravelly voice, his electric guitar playing was amazing as he jammed between
songs. And his new songs, like ``something's missing,'' were darker and more
guitar-driven, pushing him more toward Bright Eyes than Dave Matthews. Mayer's
show at the Concord Pavilion was more simplistic, wearing a gray T-shirt and
jeans, There were no backdrops, only spotlights mainly centered on Mayer.
Mayer's face was fun to watch on the overhead screen, contorting and stretching
as he literally sucked the microphone while singing his radio hits ``No Such
Thing'' and ``Why Georgia.'' This young man knows how to captivate a crowd with
his six-string guitar and honest lyrics," Mayer and his band maintained a
small-combo feel but gave everything more of a charge, including a showy but
ill-fitting blues-rock guitar solo from Mayer. A couple of songs from his
upcoming album suggested a move toward more musical complexity. At times he
went off into wonderful jams that mesmerized the crowd. He made each song
special in a different way; in "Your Body is a Wonderland," he had
the crowd sing along. At a time when the music industry is being saturated with
bubble-gum pop garbage and grunge bands trying to recapture the emotion of the
early 90's, it is refreshing to hear an artist who is truly able to put out a
couple of honestly good clean songs with catchy tunes.
By Randy Cohen
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