No wonder everyone was feeling so dancey. But in all likelihood it wasn't really the weather that made people want to dance. It was Mayer Hawthorne.
And what better way to get the groove going than to have the talented Danish band Quadron open for Mayer Hawthorne at the Pageant. The band is promoting their second release, "Avalanche," released May 2013.
I had no prior exposure to the group but was more than pleasantly surprised. Lead by vocal powerhouse Coco O, Quadron has been around since the release of its self-titled 2009 debut; this was the group's first visit to St. Louis. The crowd was sparse for Quadron's set, but the few of us in front of the stage couldn't stop ourselves from shaking our shoulders and kicking our feet.
Coco's vocal range was astounding, evident from the various "oooh's" and "ahh's" from the crowd as she sang and danced her way around the stage. She told the crowd that this was one of her favorite gigs ever before wowing us once more with the song "Pressure." Watching her bassist, keyboard player and drummer shake their heads in disbelief at the talent of their very own lead singer was priceless as she sang her heart out. It was a sign of true passion from a Danish band that I'm sure we will be hearing much more of in the years to come.
Slowly, but surely, the crowd grew as the stagehands started to turn over the set for Mayer Hawthorne. This was Hawthorne's first time performing at the Pageant; his last appearch was just last May at the Firebird for his prior release and fan-favorite (album) "How Do You Do."
Speaking of where the door goes, it was planted downstage center, with a giant neon broken heart around it that flashed various colors throughout the night. Fog filled the stage as the band filed on in their white button downs and suspenders. The band's intro progressed as Mayer came on stage and the broken heart flashed it's first color: pink.
Beside the center stage mic was a small table holding a synth and a wooden owl that would move its head in various directions throughout the set.
Owls dance, too, apparently.
Dressed in a suit and Nike tennis shoes, Mayer approached his mic (draped with a scarf) to start off the night with "Back Seat Lover." Grapevining to the left, and then to the right with his lead guitarist and bassist, it was pretty clear these fellas wanted to put on a good show for their fans, and, for the most part, they succeeded.
"Are you ready to have the greatest night of your entire lives?" Mayer asked the crowd.
Dancing, with their arms in the air, the fans in the pit joyously replied, "Yeah!"
Diving right in, the band continued with "A Long Time" from "How Do You Do." Following that, Hawthorne performed "Reach Out Richard" and "Wine Glass Woman" from "Where Does This Door Go."
By now the Pageant was mostly packed. The pit was filled with his diehard fans, dancing and clapping along, prompting Mayer to say "I got essay writing all my party people down front right here."
Hawthorne loves a good dance party. And so do his fans. An eclectic group of people showed up at this show. On one hand you have the suited men in front of me who had a long day at the office and needed to blow off some steam, on the other the 20 somethings, male and female, completely enthralled by the enthusiastic artist on stage.
One man from the group of suits nearly knocked me off of my feet during "Allie Jones."
"I'm sorry. I got excited," he apologized.
At this point in the set Hawthorne took a break and the house lights came on. A stagehand brought a brown leather chair onto the stage and set it down with it's back facing the crowd. On it, hung a sign that said "Hands Up." Mayer asked the crowd to raise their hands for a picture we could access on his site the following day to share on social media sites. He also took this opportunity to enjoy a Fitz soda. Whether it was crème soda or the classic root beer, I couldn't be sure.
He's a character, Mayer is.
More importantly, these musicians are solid live performers. Mayer's voice is mostly pitch perfect, his pelvic thrusts on time as he pointed to various women in the crowd. The musicianship of the band here is undeniable. At times, however, the choreography felt forced.
For example, the bassist and lead guitarist running back and forth across the stage in a perfect X and the all-too-common "power" stance both felt a bit cheesy for my taste. I also was disappointed that the horn sections were ringing out through a synthesizer. But the fans didn't mind, and mostly neither did I.
Mayer continued with hits like "Get to Know You," and lead into "The Walk" by first covering "Walk This Way," which the crowd loved.
Mayer sang "Where Does This Door Go" before finishing the set with "The Ills." As the band exited stage left the crowd, almost immediately, began chanting "Mayer, Mayer, Mayer," and not before long he returned to begin his encore.
He finished with "Her Favorite Song," leaving his fans to "shake it off" like they never have before.
Back Seat Lover
A Long Time
Reach Out Richard
Wine Glass Woman
Get to Know You
Wish it Would Rain
Walk This Way (cover)
Stars Are Ours
Where Does This Door Go
Her Favorite Song