Lollapalooza 2011, Saturday: Mayer Hawthorne & The County
Lollapalooza 2011: Day 2: Mayor Hawthorne & The County
Sure, a lot of Hawthorne's tunes sound like other people's past hits. I heard a hint of Curtis Mayfield's "People Get Ready" on "Make Her Mine," and traces of the Supremes' "You Can't Hurry Love" on "Your Easy Lovin' Ain't Pleasin' Nothin'" (both off his 2009 Stones Throw LP A Strange Arrangement). A cover of the Isley Brothers' "Work to Do" left little doubt as to where his influences stem from. Hawthorne's young enough to call on '80s, '90s and even '00s pop as well. A cover of Snoop Dogg and Pharrell's "Beautiful" worked up the audience, which gamely filled in the gaps on the chorus when invited to go "Ohhh-ohh-oh-ohhh-ohhh." A cover of Hall & Oates' "You Make My Dreams Come True" was most telling, since Hawthorne's tenor recalls Hall's more than any other blue eyed soul singer I can think of. That point was driven home later in the set when he quoted "I Can't Go For That." Newer originals included "No Strings" from a recent EP and the upbeat skip-along "Dream," off Hawthorne's major label debut due in October.
Simply put, the man's a consummate entertainer, clad in a navy blazer and torquoise button down despite the blazing sun and insufferably thick humidity. I felt like I was melting just watching him. But it didn't slow him down at all. Not for a minute. Mid-way through the set he mugged for the camera before imploring the modest audience to put the phones and cameras away for the rest of the set. "What's gonna happen is you're gonna pay attention to the show." "It's crazy I know," he added, underscoring the profundity of that statement in 2011.