Monday, July 20, 2015

Tuxedo at le Poisson Rouge

Funk-disco band Tuxedo is a side project for both vocalist Mayer Hawthorne (nee Andrew Cohen) and keyboardist/producer Jake One (nee Jacob Dutton). Hawthorne was born and raised in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and in 2006 relocated to Los Angeles, California. He has recorded three solo albums. One is from Seattle, Washington, where he started playing keyboard in 1992. Like Hawthorne, One also relocated to Los Angeles, issuing his first album in 2008. Tuxedo released its self-titled debut album on March 3, 2015.

Headlining tonight at le Poisson Rouge, the members of Tuxedo indeed wore tuxedos; the backing musicians wore white outfits, but Hawthorne and One wore a more garish powder blue suit with tails. Tuxedo looked like a band you might expect in a casino lounge, and the music was not far from that. Tuxedo specialized in light funk with smooth grooves, the kind that gets the disco ball spinning from the ceiling and the dancers on the floor. The slower songs were bedroom songs. Hawthorne sang softly and soulfully, and while One's synthesizer-heavy leadership seemed to be the glue that held the rhythms together, the guitarist occasionally broke into a stinging solo. Tuxedo recreated this retro sound respectfully well, but did not spark new enterprise with it like Daft Punk or Pharrell Williams. For further success, Tuxedo will have to do more than embrace this post-disco sound; the band will have to marry it to the 21st century.

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