Friday night I drove down to Northampton, MA to see Mason Jennings play at the Pearl Street Night Club. I hadn’t seen Mason perform since the summer of 2002 as best as I can recall, and to be honest I hadn’t been keeping up with his new releases. When I saw him then it was him with his guitar and a mic, and some sort of bass acomponyment (I’m tempted to say it was a cello). Apparently these days he tours with a keyboard player, a drummer and a bass player. I don’t want to say it was bad. It wasn’t. It was very good, it just wasn’t lone folk hero that I started listening to 5 years ago and not what I was expecting to see. I found myself questioning several times, “Who does this guy think he is, John Mayer?”
The opening act, Jennifer O’Connor, was fab-u-lous. She has a clean, folk rock sound that I found refreshing. Her performance was right on. The harder rocking songs rocked my socks and the ballads moved me. My only criticism would be that she doesn’t act like the rockstar she is between songs. Maybe it’s a folk artist thing that they’re meek and quiet between songs. I bought one of her albums, Over the Mountain, Across the Valley and Back to the Stars and got it signed. I would have bought both the albums she had that night if I had the cash on me… A couple $4.50 bottles of Magic Hat puts an extreme dent into one’s merch money. Anyway, I got home after midnight and had to listen to the entire album before going to sleep.
Overall, I give Jennifer O’Conner a 4.5 out of 5 and Mason Jennings a 2.75 out of 5. I’m sure he worried about ostracizing his fan base when he added the rest of the band. I’m just one of those fans who was a little ostracized, albeit belated, since I hadn’t picked up any of his new stuff in quite some time.