Jason Mraz - Life Cafe - 28.9.03

It's only a few short months since Mraz's last gig in the city, but something seems to be happening completely out of his control. Whereas last time he was riding a wave off the Tracy Chapman tour where real music fans witnessed a singer songwriter with the personality of Robbie Williams and the sensitivity of the boy that never gets the girl. This time at Life Cafe the audience is a bizarre mix of Metrosexuals who worship at the temple of Beckham and the relatively new old skool Mraz fans.

The last night of a brief UK tour stripped down to 3 piece because according to Mraz his sidekick Toca "can't afford to keep his bitches anymore". The fact that it's a minimalist set-up is incidental and while most would fail in delivering a 90 minute set of acoustic songs, Mraz simply decides to open up the envelope and push it to it's extremes. Revealing that he used to do stand-up towards the end of the show it's not beyond on the realms of possibility that he's actually telling the truth. One of the those natural performers that seem born for the stage, between him and Toca they set about a series of jokes in-between each and every song. "Have you heard the one about the 2 peanuts? They were walking home at night and one was a salted" was one of the better jokes from Toca's repertoire while Mraz tells the tale of how he used to go to cheer leading school with 398 girls. Like any good comedian set pieces are returned reworked and improved so alongside the Spanish version of Madness' "Our House" we get gay, cult and Radio 3 opera styled versions of the same song. Bob Marley is revisited and yet still there's a reverence held of  his own solo material during all this madness.

Mraz writes better songs than most singer songwriters. He's funny than most comedians. And his live shows never fail to entertain. Roll on next time.

Alex McCann
Photo's by Karen McBride - www.karenmcbride.com

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