Nice spring evening at Starlight last night. A veritable hipster’s paradise. Guys in plaid cargo shorts, sandals, ironic tee shirts and sporting attitude goatees. Gals in either butt-hugger shorts or floor length summer dresses, most wearing over-sized sunglasses (sunshine not required), and everyone holding a phone in one hand. Lots of cleavage on display, not that I noticed or anything. I pulled out my shirttails so that Sherri and I would blend in. We moseyed on in and got seats in line with the stage, about halfway back.
Right at 7:30 the opening act Anya Marina walked on stage and did a twenty minute set. Had one of those high pitched hippy dippy type voices, twenty minutes was plenty.
Next up, The Plain White T’s. They did a fairly energetic thirty minute set. Basically they are one step removed from being a boy band. Three guitars, bass, and drums. Very earnest. The highlight was at the close of one of their songs, they did a raved up version of ‘California Dreamin’ by the Mamas and the Papas that was pretty cool.
Jason came on at 9:30. Right up front I will admit I know nothing about the guy or his music, I was basically escorting my wife who is a fan. That being said, the guy put on a pretty good show. Nothing too deep mind you, just light catchy tunes backed by a pretty tight band. I will say Jason can fit more syllables into a sentence than any other song writer I know. He was well received, the place was darn near full and pretty much everyone stood for the entire 90 minute set. And everyone (except me) sang along word for word with most of his songs, no small feat considering some of them were quite wordy.
Towards the end he engaged the crowd and had the gals singing scat style doo-bops low parts and the guys singing the high parts, and that was pretty funny. Very engaging stage personality, seemed genuinely appreciative of the audience support. Jason played acoustic and electric guitar and was backed by bass, keyboards, congas and a horn section. Best description I can think of is a fusion of reggae, pop, rock, folk, jazz and hip hop.
I did recognize two songs, the first was ‘The Remedy’ which I had heard on the radio. Pretty catchy tune, and towards the end he did ‘I’m Yours’ which I am guessing is his biggest hit based on the reaction to the opening notes. Crowd went wild, and Jason did the song justice.
One thing that really struck me was after Jason left the stage, the band tore into an instrumental that was quite tasty, first time of the night I was really up and moving to the music. Kind of reminded me of the original Chicago Transit Authority sound, lots of horns and percussion.
Jason came back for his encores, did about another twenty minutes or so, including an acoustic song backed by piano where he sang part of the lyrics like an opera singer. Guess you would’ve had to been there, it was really pretty well done! So, come 11:00 the lights came up and the crowd went home happy.
Next up: Fleetwood Mac tomorrow night. I guarantee you that I will know all of their songs!
Submitted by your roving hipster,