Concert Review: Mike Posner at Gramercy Theatre, February 22

24 Feb

Hype can be a dangerous thing for artists. It can cause an artist to blow up way too fast and and create expectations that ultimately derail the bands creative spark. It can cause groups to be anointed the next big thing before they even have their first album. This brings me to the recent Mike Posner concert I had a chance to check out, when Asa180 got me tix!

YDP covered Mike Posner previously in an In the Know that showcases some great songs, mentions the fact he was still in college until December and essentially concludes that as an artist, he isn’t a finished product. After watching him last night, I agree with Lord_B’s assesment.

First with the highlights: I was nervous that like many people with heavily produced songs, Mike Posner’s voice would be lacking or not even sung. I have certainly seen my fair share of lip synching over recordings in concerts so I wasn’t sure what to expect. That was clearly not the case. His voice was even better live than on the recording and this was apparent from when he opened with “Drug Dealer Girl.” I was impressed and hope he shows his vocal range in future songs.

At least with his hits, he was committed to building on original recording of the song and this came through again especially with “Cooler Than Me,” and also “Evil Woman,” “You Don’t Have to Leave” and his cover of John Mayer’s “I Don’t Trust Myself.” His strongest songs performed live were his best songs (no surprise there), and his performance of them showed a lot of promise. I was also very impressed with his stage presence. Its very rare to see a one man show with pop music and Mike Posner clearly was up to the task. He seemed perfectly at ease to be up there alone with the crowd and that is quite a feat. He gets a free pass on playing songs on his Macbook since he single-handedly produced and mastered all of them. It’s not like there was a band he left at home to go on tour by himself, and there is way too much going on in his songs for him to be expected to play them live.

Now the criticism: By my estimation, Drug Dealer Girl and Cooler Than Me are his only two high quality songs that feel and sound original. The rest of his strong songs, like Evil Woman, You Don’t Have To Leave and I Don’t Trust Myself are more or less covers, and the other original songs were kinda weird breakup songs that weren’t particularly catchy or sounded like I’d heard them before on the radio or out in clubs. Cooler Than Me and Drug Dealer Girl, while not the most enlightening lyrics of all time are genuinely funny, tongue and cheek and paint a picture, especially of ‘those girls’ on a college campus! His other songs struggle to achieve that. Of course I will cut the man some slack because he only just stopped having to go to class, has a ridiculous tour schedule and hasn’t even released his first album. That said, with a live show I was surprised to see as many covers as I saw (with the term covers I include using the same exact melody and changing a couple words that rhyme with the original verse).

It reminds me of in Finding Forrester where Forrester teaches Jamal to write by telling him to starting typing someone else’s story and making them his own when he felt comfortable. In terms of his musical development, more often than not than not this seems to be the stage that Mike Posner is in. Even the songs I give him credit for being original in, I can’t help but wonder if I like it because I’ve heard the song somewhere before. Now I understand that every song copies other songs to some degree but when you open a song with “I Never Knew, I Never Knew” in the some notes as the Fray and continue this trick with the majority of your songs it gets a little old.

In this metaphor Jamal is Mike Posner and Forrester is...Jesus?

To me the point that really sums up my criticisms of Mike Posner are when he comes out for his encore. Shirtless he tells the crowd he doesn’t normally do this but he’s only gonna sing Acapella. He proceeded to sing Halo by Beyonce acapella even though his voice is certainly not up to that task (not that many people are) to an adoring drunk high school crowd that sang along with him. If that isn’t blowing the encore I don’t now what is.

None of these criticisms are the kiss of death for an artist at the beginning of his career. I wish the absolute best for Mike Posner and if his album blows me away I will stand corrected but I’m just not sure what direction he is headed right now. We shall see…

On that note, my encore, a review of the opening act: Chiddy Bang with his DJ, Xaphoon Jones opened and really put on an exceptional live show. Chiddy Bang has a great flow, hilarious lyrics and solid free styling skills. He even ran up and freestyled during Mike Posner’s performance. Xaphoon Jones clearly has some talent in the production department providing Chiddy some varied and really rich backgrounds the work perfectly with Chiddy’s rhymes. Also while “Opposite of Adults” their current hit was good, I thought just about everything else they performed was much better. These guys are going places.

Chiddy Bang and Xaphoon Jones

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One Response to “Concert Review: Mike Posner at Gramercy Theatre, February 22”

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  1. YDP In the Know: Mike Posner « Yuppie Dance Party - February 24, 2010

    […] out our Mike Posner Concert review here Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Mike Posner Concert Review Categories: In the […]

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