Just last week, the Boston Herald proclaimed that Mayer Hawthorne had “burst forth as the male answer to retro-soul queens Amy Winehouse and Sharon Jones.” Comparisons to soul divas, though, never reflect well on their retro-minded male counterparts, and here the crucial difference is the infusion of hip-hop—well, that plus a delivery that makes Hawthorne sound like Smokey Robinson’s wispy-voiced adopted white son. Mayer Hawthorne—the “porn” sobriquet (read: his middle name plus the street where he grew up) of Andrew Mayer Cohen—has spent plenty of time in Motown proper, but his accelerated drums and too-smooth horn arrangements betray the sensibility of a kid who discovered Curtis Mayfield through Tupac samples. Credulous young women won’t mind the latter when Hawthorne takes the stage to do his best Impressions impression(s).
HAWTHORNE PERFORMS WITH BUFF1 AND 14KT AT 9 P.M. AT DC9, 1940 9TH ST. NW. $10–$12. (202) 483-5000.