Sometimes you have to reconcile that a live review isn’t an opportunity to deal with all of your own weird hang-ups about an artist, and Jessica Lea Mayfield serves as good an example as any. Sure I have a million questions about her life growing up in Kent, Ohio, being “discovered” by Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys (a band I am admittedly not at all fond of), and of course about her seemingly endless transformations both musically and physically. Instead, I will sweep all of those potentially poignant lines of inquiry under the rug so that I can share with you the musings of a recent fan of hers instead. Do you think she considers herself a feminist? Ok! Ok! I’ll stop.
So, if I give up all of those hard hitting journalistically rigorous queries, can I at least bitch about the cost of an LP??? I’m not poor but with two kids, two cats, and a rabbit I can’t always afford to fill up the BMW with 93-octane gasoline and I certainly cannot afford to pay $25 for a 120gm vinyl record (what a cheap bastard). I was really excited to support the band, as I do religiously, by buying merch. I’ve had several friends who have toured in indie bands and I know a good night in merch sales can make all the difference. So…I literally had $24 in my wallet and although I checked online before I left for the show and saw the album was “$19.99” from her website, I still couldn’t afford it. Bummer. Ok, on to the show.
Local openers The Sea The Sea and Violent Mae both played to a late arriving crowd, at least this is what I had thought looking around at the 20 or so odd fellow “early birds”. It was my first time catching Violent Mae who were absolutely mesmerizing! Unfortunately, T. Hardy Morris and The Hardknocks took the stage with only a dozen or so more fans in the crowd and they seemed a little bummed. I don’t blame them one bit but I will say that the other 3 bands were incredibly gracious in their acknowledgement of the few but dedicated fans.
Finally, Jessica Lea Mayfield in all of her pink and sparkles took the stage and captivated each and every one of us with her coy allure. Between cuts off her new album Make My Head Sing she engaged with the crowd in her awkward but self-assured manner whispering things like “So what’d y’all like to do around here?” which felt like something of an insult when considering the options. Still she was charming nonetheless. Jessica spoke of and often interacted with her partner in the band and in life, bassist Jesse Newport. Jesse and Jessie, heh heh heh. She also spoke high praise about her drummer Matt Martin who levitated about the space like a wise sage and sported a mid-chest long beard to fit such a description. In all seriousness, it was a unique and intimate affair that is sure to stick with the few that were in attendance that cold November evening. While I lament the thin turnout for the sake of the band, I selfishly cherished as a fan and of course as a photographer!