Tuesday, August 22, 2006

John Mayer at The Mod Club, Toronto - Concert Review

John Mayer hasn't been on my heavy rotation iPod list for a while now, probably because I played Room for Squares to death during that first year it was out. The last time I saw him in concert, it was at a large outdoor amphitheatre with 18,000 other fans, and I never felt that John Mayer's lone man singer/songwriter/guitar-playing stuff was really meant for a huge venue of that sort, despite his meteoric rise to fame. His songs are personal (if not a little college and post-college angsty, but hey, I'm the same age so I relate) and contemplative, and while he plays a mean guitar (to the point of self-indulgency as I have complained before), his songs were meant to be heard in a small club like venue.

I was probably also spoiled since I first saw John Mayer for $16 at The Opera House in Toronto, which despite the name, is a small club venue that he is perfectly suited for. We stood metres away from him and we could hear his voice crisply and clearly and not from some million dollar sound system projecting out to the 400's and lawn sections.

So now that John Mayer is all huge and Grammy winning, and about to tour with Sheryl Crow as co-headliners, it is great to see him return to where he truly belongs and that is on a small stage in a small club singing directly to his fans (who were not as screaming teenage girlsy as I thought it would be, actually a very mixed crowd, particularly one unshy and vocal guy). John played The Mod Club (another small venue that probably holds about 400 people or so, if not less, let's just say smaller than your high school gymnasium for sure) in Toronto last night, a kickoff to his tour, and the only club gig he is apparently doing on the tour.

John sounded terrific, reminding me of why he has had such a meteoric rise, and he kept his guitar playing solos to a bareable minumum (I'm not much one for the self-indulgent guitar riffing. I know it's supposedly impressive but I want lyrics and hooks baby... thats what I love about music and why I'm the most fond of Room for Squares, his most pop album (and most successful)). He sang a nice mix from every album, basically sticking to his hits ("No Such Thing", "Daughters", "Why Georgia"), or most beloved songs ("My Stupid Mouth", "Something's Missing", " Clarity" etc) and a few selections from his upcoming album Continuum including the new hit "Waiting on the World to Change". His vocals were crips and clear, just as he was 4 years ago, and though he seems to be keeping his chatter to a minimum these days, he still has some nice banter with the crowd (particularly that unshy vocal guy).

It's too bad that his fame these days will keep him playing stadiums or large amphitheatres since seeing John Mayer on such a small stage is such a pleasure, but alas, lucky me for getting to see his only club gig (yes. That was rubbing it in to all those who care).
Here are some pics I took of the show:


Anonymous said...

great pics...but i gotta say, john needs to get a haircut. not digging the long/messy locks...in fact i think it makes him look a little durty.

vance said...

haha. funny. I was going to mention that too. I prefer the clean cut Room for squares cover look back in the day... alas... this is "rock and roll" (or at least post college funk look).

Anonymous said...

thanks for the pics. i think your review was more about you, the venue, and the guy you had a crush on than about johns performance.

vance said...

did I miss something? what guy I had a crush on? (unshy vocal guy? the voice from the crowd?). Anwyays, what CAN I say about JM? He's always great. He's better in a small venue which he rarely does anymore so I wanted to point that out!

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