By Robert Goldberg | February 04, 2024
📸: shot by Jen Roman

A bass-heavy thump of disco beats spilled onto the streets walking into Music Hall of Williamsburg on Wednesday night, beckoning us into a kaleidoscope of glamor and lights. The entire venue was lit up like a firework, disco ball dazzling reflective displays of light onto the dance floor. Chulita Vinyl Club was spinning classic dance pop hits as audience members awaited Mayer Hawthorne, a Motown Grammy nominated disconaut. Mayer began his musical journey as a hip-hop DJ in Detroit and began recording his own Motor City grooves to avoid paying fees for sampling other artists’ work. He played all the instruments on each of those tracks, recorded all his own vocals, and the rest is history. Ten studio albums later, he’s now touring for his latest album, For All Time – and back in Brooklyn ready to serenade us with luscious R&B tones and sweet melodies.  

The lights dimmed and cricket and rain forest sounds emanated through the speakers as the instrumentalists appeared, consisting of a guitarist, bassist, pianist/vocalist, and drummer. They kicked things off with “The Pool”, a track from their new album, and as the band began, Mayer entered, absolutely dripped out in a ravishing silk kimono. Mayer’s musical influences include Curtis Mayfield, Isaac Hayes, Barry White, Smokey Robinson, and Steely Dan, all of whom are reflected in the ingenuity of his musical prowess. The next three songs seamlessly transitioned from one to the other and he pleased the crowd with a good variety of tracks all from different albums. The audience harmonized during “Back Seat Lover” from his critically acclaimed album Where Does this Door Go

Before starting their next tune, Mayer so sweetly announced “I wanna sing you guys my wife’s favorite song on the new album.” “Physical Touch” absolutely melted our hearts with lyrics that longed for a distant lover as well as vibey and chill Moog synth melodies. As the show continued, Mr. Hawthorne showcased an enthralling display of musical talent, playing both piano and guitar all while belting out vocals in almost every song.   Other notable tunes included “Out of Pocket” and “Time for Love,” an incredible dance banger that had us movin’ and groovin’.  

Mayer briefly exited the stage for the next song and then came back sporting a regal red suit while singing the more contemplative “Green Eyed Love.” The next soul storm siege of music included a hyperspace light show during “Cosmic Love” and a reggae version of “Maybe So,” which demonstrated the versatility of musicality and showmanship from Mr. Hawthorne’s collective. They ended their set with “The Walk,” only to leave the stage and rush right back on for a much sought-after encore. Mayer finished with their classic hit and a groovement favorite, “Henny & Gingerale,” a sip salute to end one funky Wednesday night in Brooklyn.

Connect with Mayer Hawthorne on Instagram, Spotify, TikTok and their website.

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