Headliner: Jason Mraz
Venue: Lestat’s West
Reviewer: T. E. Phanichkul
Not long ago, Jason Mraz had been couch surfing in San Diego, playing world famous Java Joes. Then suddenly, he propelled into the world of San Diego’s acoustic, singer-songwriter, music scene; arguably one of the most prominent scenes in the nation, producing such artists as Jewel, Steve Poltz, Lisa Sanders and Greggory Page. His popularity grew quickly as record companies took notice. Soon, he signed on with Elektra and is currently played on radio stations across the nation.
Jason Mraz may not quite yet be a house-hold name, but he has the attention of many fans young and old with his stunningly flawless voice and catchy, creative lyrics, backed by a clean acoustic guitar sound. He recently sang the “Star Spangled Banner,” at the opening day for Petco Park, the new ballpark home of the San Diego Padres. And on April 15, he surprised an audience at Lestat’s West, which is where some of the best musical artists in the southern California call home.
Louis Braizer, the man behind the sound and booking at Lestat’s West had told me that Jason Mraz was going to be performing some new songs in a surprise guest set before Bushwalla, another local favorite. I arrived early for the show that night and cleverly reserved seats near the sound board. Lestat’s was filled over capacity with hardly any room to walk in and out. Someone had leaked the word out. I sat and listened to some amazing local acoustic talents, Anna Troy and Renata Youngblood, before Jason Mraz took the stage. Armed with just a guitar, he introduced himself as Bushwalla, his friend’s band that was to play immediate after.
Mr. Mraz opened up with a small introduction then debuted the first of his three new songs about love and happiness,mostly about a girl. The song, entitled “Flying My Guilt Over A Quilt,” set the joyous glowing mood for his entire set. Also known as “Plane Goes Down,” it’s a strong and vocally powerful song. It starts out soft and rhythmic, but then as he proclaims in his chorus, “And I’m up in the air, yeah yeah, but I can see your house from here,” his voice becomes strong and prominent decrying his love for his girl. This was probably the best song in his set and will most likely be played on the air in the near future.
The second of his new songs is entitled “Fine Dining,” according to Mrazmerized.com, a Jason Mraz fan website. Mr. Mraz prefaced the song by saying he would definitely, “Screw it up, but that’s okay because it’s about the same girl.” The song is quite sweet sounding and goes on to speak of his girlfriend’s quarks and tendencies, which remind us of our own better halves. He forgot a few of the lyrics half way through the song, but with a smile of embarrassment, he continued to play and picked it right back up.
His final song incorporated the local singing talents of Greggory Page and Toca Rivera. The final song, “What It Takes,” is almost a theme for any joyful film with a content protagonist. “It Takes,” is of moderate tempo and captivated the audience with a message that says life is wonderful. This seemed to put a smile on many faces in the audience and spread a euphoric joy among the crowd.
When it was all over, Mr. Mraz thanked the audience, Mr. Page and Mr. Rivera, and asked everyone to stay for Bushwalla. I unlocked myself from my seat, stood up and applauded. Later, Mr. Mraz joined his friends Bushwalla & the Ill Stars of Funk for a few songs, “Jesus Bo Beezus” and “Soul Train.” Everyone crowded around Mr. Mraz for an autograph after the show. Overall, the show was excellent and worth every penny, just five dollars, for such an intimate and warm atmosphere. The night was over for some, but Mr. Mraz invited all of his friends, new and old, out for a few beers at the Ould Sod, a popular pub a block down, to spread the joy once more.
Jason Mraz is currently touring and will be touring late this summer with the Dave Matthews Band. His website is http://www.jasonmraz.com.
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