Tag Archives: Bushwalla

Mraz Plays Cord Progression in February

Mraz plays Cord ProgressionI demonstrated some excellent restraint yesterday.

I got the email that tickets were going on sale for Cord Progression, “a special night of music in support of spinal cord injury awareness” with our man Jason Mraz and our special friends Bushwalla and the Makepeace Brothers, and I was determined to go.

Sure, the show was in Long Beach and I had no idea who I was going with or how I would get there, I just wanted to go.

As soon as the clock flipped to 10:00 I was on Ticketmaster and had two sixth row tickets in my basket. Then the voices in my head started to argue:

You don’t need to spend this money.
It’s for a good cause!
You’re saving to buy a house.
I deserve a little fun!
You don’t even know if anyone else wants to go.
Who cares?!

In the end, I decided just the fact that I was hearing voices probably meant that the $160 plus travel expenses could be better spent elsewhere, or not spent at all. And there will be other Mraz shows this year, hopefully closer to home.

If you’re interested though, tickets are still on sale (the show is at the Long Beach Terrace Theatre on Saturday, February 27th, 2010), and it is for a good cause, and you can’t go wrong with a Mraz-Bushwalla show.

I don’t wanna wait no more,


Review: Jason Mraz at the Ironstone Ampitheater, Murphys, August 28, 2009

One of these things is not like the others. One of these things is too cool to belong. Ok, two things. Chris Isaak is still hot.

One of these things is not like the others. One of these things is too cool to belong. Ok, two things. Chris Isaak is still hot.

The Ironstone Amphitheater is in Murphys, CA, not too far from Yosemite. I grew up in the Bay Area, lived here most of my life, and had never heard of Murphys until this show came up. The drive was long and curvy, but worth it, as the venue was really cozy and beautiful.

This is probably the oldest crowd I’ve ever seen at a Jason Mraz concert. My guess is that a lot of locals get season’s tickets for the Ironstone and just see everyone who performs there, even if they don’t know who they are (there aren’t a whole lot of other music venues in the area, if you’re looking for live entertainment).

The Ironstone is also hosting Chris Isaak, Crosby, Stills & Nash and Lynyrd Skynyrd in the next few weeks, so you get the idea that this isn’t going to be like the crazy, energetic crowd that Jason gets at San Diego State, for example.

First up for the evening was Trevor Jackson, age 13. He did a quick tribute to Michael Jackson. Not bad, but I wouldn’t ask Simon Cowell for his opinion just yet.

Next up, Bushwalla! Not to perform, but to MC, and to let us know that the crowd reeked of sexy energy. It’s always good to see him, but I would have been happier if he’d belted out a few tunes before introducing Raphael Saadiq.

This is where I admit that I’d never heard of Raphael Saadiq before. I had no idea what to expect, and even after he was done, I still had trouble figuring him out. He started out his set with a doo wop vibe, him and his whole band in suits and ties and choreographed 60s dance moves.

But then the set got funkier, the jacket and tie came off, and at one point I thought they were going to dive into some metal, with headbanging and everything. Then he ended sounding like Smokey Robinson and Usher’s hybrid clone.

Overall, he was impressive and I enjoyed him. You can get a taste of Raphael with this clip of him at Outside Lands this weekend.

Ha! I just saw this on YouTube: “Raphael Saadiq rose to prominence in the late ’80’s/early ’90’s as the lead vocalist and bass player in r&b group TONY! TONI! TONE!” I didn’t know that. That’s awesome! I wonder if he ever performs “It Never Rains In Southern California”.

Bushwalla came out to introduce his best friend, the guy he met in New York 15 years ago, Jason Mraz. And clean-shaven, Paul McCartney-esque Jason did this:

1. Make it Mine – At the end of this, Jason welcomed us to “two hours from anywhere” and thanked those of us who made the commute. It really was out in the sticks.
2. Love Love Love / Anything You Want (or whatever it’s called)
3. Coyotes
– Yes! I’ve never heard this live before and it was incredible, a real highlight of the evening.
4. Who Needs Shelter
– I love when Jason gets old school. The only downside is that it made me want to hear “Galaxy” and “Running” and other older songs that he doesn’t do much anymore.
5. Love for a Child
6. Remedy – An updated, reggae version. Makes sense that after performing a song for so many years you do something different with it to keep it fresh.
7. Summer Breeze
8. Live High
9. Not So Usual
10. Dynamo of Volition
11. Beautiful Mess
12. I’m Yours -> Three Little Birds


13. Musical interlude from the Superband (dubbed Frog Jumping Jubilee tonight, in honor of the surrounding Calaveras County – read your Mark Twain), including a little “Charlie’s Angels” theme song
14. Fall Through Glass – With Bushwalla. Woo hoo! I just wish he’d hung out and done “Acoustic Rhymer” or another song too.
15. All Night Long
16. Butterfly

Jason Mraz at the Pearl, Las Vegas, May 9, 2009: Concert Review

It was incredible. Just, incredible. *Hint, hint*

Got to the Pearl a little after 11:00 last night. It’s a really nice venue, not too big, so every seat in the house has a good view, from what I could tell. They even have drink holders/foot rests, which I appreciated.

The Pearl Theater

The Pearl Theater

The show started promptly at midnight, but not in a way I expected. When the lights dimmed and someone came out to do introductions, it wasn’t Jason. It was Bushwalla. Woo hoo! I was really hoping he’d launch into “Psycho Killer”, but no such luck.

Instead, he started to talk about the man coming to the stage, how he was voted most entertaining college of the year (“stop, switch that around”) and his mother voted him most attractive man in the world two years in a row or something, just general goofy stuff, but that didn’t sound anything like James Morrison. But he wasn’t introducing James Morrison.

He was introducing Justin Kredible.

Ha! Already we had a good idea that this show was going to be a little different. At least, I haven’t heard that these two have been traveling with Jason for this past tour, so I’m guessing it was a “Hey, you should come hang out in Vegas with me” thing.

Justin levitated the Music, Magic, Makepeace table and did his balloon sword swallowing, and then we finally got us some James Morrison.

All you need to know about James Morrison is that he’s phenomenal, and his act provides a crazy juxtaposition with Jason’s. Jason shares the stage. He can make even a large crowd feel like they’re hanging out in his living room. He doesn’t need to control the room, he just sort of musically cuddles with it.

James Morrison though could have a big sign behind him screaming, “I’m a fucking rock star, bitch!” I mean, he comes across very likable and charming, but he gives off an insane amount of energy, prowling back and forth, dropping to his knees, never letting up for a second, thrashing and flinging attitude (and a good amount of sweat) all over the room.

Last year, talking about Bushwalla I said:
Bushwalla took over the stage. I don’t just mean he took his turn, I mean he took the stage over his knee and he owned that bitch.”

And that’s James Morrison too.  Just sit back and let him do what he wants with you. Here’s his set list:

1. The Only Night
2. Under the Influence
3. You Give Me Something
4. Broken Strings
, with Beverly Brown (I think)
5. If You Don’t Wanna Love Me
6. Precious Love
7. Nothing Ever Hurt Like You -> Uptight
(This one got going so fast and so intense I thought he might explode. Phenomenal.)
8. Wonderful World

James left the stage around 12:45, but I really didn’t want him to stop playing. It was my first time seeing him live and he absolutely left me wanting more. At least we have YouTube.

About half an hour later, Bushwalla and Justin Kredible came back out to do a little more magic (the bowling ball trick) and introduce Jason. Again I was hoping for some Bushwalla tunes, maybe “Creatures in the Yard” or “Acoustic Rhymer”, but no joy. Instead, it went like this:

1. Fun, Fun Fun/I Want to Thank You (? – Anyone have a better title for this?) – First time I’ve heard this live. A really good, energetic way to kick off a show.
2. No Doubling Back – I love to hear the oldies that none of the new “I’m Yours” fans know.
3. Remedy -> Geek in the Pink
4. Anything You Want? Love, Love, Love?– Ashamed to say I don’t know the name of this one. It was sort of a reggae thing, but I have no idea if it’s a cover or one of his own. Please don’t think less of me.
5. Live High, with three of the ladies from Voices of Prayze in San Diego – More special guests!
6. Details in the Fabric– This is the song I was most looking forward to, since James Morrison was there to do his part, but it was a little disappointing, probably more for Jason than anyone else. At the beginning of the song he did a little rhyming about traveling around and getting messages from people while he’s on the road. Then he held up a walkie talkie. Knowing that Bushwalla was also in the house, it was safe to assume that he was on the other end, doing the answering machine message.

Unfortunately, the walkies didn’t want to talkie, so the very cool, mellow intro was broken up by feedback and silence and technical difficulties. Bushwalla came out on the stage after a while and got a few words in, but when Jason launched into the song he seemed a little annoyed? Thrown off? Disappointed? James did come out for his bit, but it was like the momentum was all off, so it was good, but not as stellar as I imagined it. (Again, at least we still have the YouTube versions.)

I was hoping James would have stayed out to do another song or two with Jason, but that was it for him.
7. Unfold – With an extra long Dave Matthews-style jam in the middle so each musician could have the spotlight for a bit.
8. Beautiful Mess
9. Lucky – Jason started strumming this one, then said what a very lucky man he was… and Colbie Caillat walked out. I’m not a huge fan, but it was very, very cool to see them perform together. She’s very tall.
10. Make It Mine
11. Dynamo of Volition
12. I’m Yours – No sing along or “Three Little Birds” here. Just ended the song in the normal place.
Musical Intermission as Jason left the stage for a few minutes and the rest of the band kept playing a Miami Sound Machine sort of tune.
13. Plane – Finally! Jason and Toca played this one the way I first heard it: intimate, stripped down, almost haunting. I never really got the Mr. A-Z version with the sweeping orchestra behind it. This song made the whole show for me.
14. All Night Long – So good. An oldie, but still a lot of fun, played with the same kind of fun and joy we got on the last tour with “Build Me Up Buttercup”.
15. Fall Through Glass – Thank you! You can’t show us a Bushwalla in Act 1 and not have him go off in Act 3. They even did the freeze frame at the end, although wihtout J Kreds and the Polaroids.
16. Butterfly – Made even better by having Bushwalla and Tricia, Jason’s Joyologist, (at least I think it was her) hoola hooped through the whole song. Their stamina was very impressive. I could see Justin at the side of stage dancing his ass off as well.

Show finished around 3:00 a.m. and I finally got a cab around 3:45. And now I’m at the airport with just three hours of sleep for the night and ready for some lunch.

I’ll remember where the love was found,

The Music, Magic & Makepeace Tour on YouTube

If you can’t get to one of the shows, or if you went and want to relive the good times, there are dozens of videos popping up on YouTube every day. I’m reluctant to recommend them now that I know Jason doesn’t love it, but then again, I feel the pain of fans who would love to see Mraz live and can’t.

So, here’s my compromise. Mraz did a live performance for a radio station in San Jose, CA on April 4th, and the video from it is excellent quality. There are no fans screaming into the microphone, it’s not all shaky and garbled, and nobody’s head is blocking the screen. Check it out here, or just look up the user darrinshimizu.

“But Lisa”, you’re asking, “what about Bushwalla and the Makepeace Brothers? They aren’t in this video.”

You’re right, so here’s my favorite of those clips:

“Acoustic Rhymer” in Santa Cruz 4/4/08: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZBzyA2XhHuc

Makepeace Brothers
“Caroline” in Chicago 4/9/08: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FqxQZ81gQwY

And here’s one more Mraz clip I just found and liked:
Mraz in South Korea
Nobody Likes Me / You and I Both: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9e-J-EtJfXY

Review: Mraz at the Fillmore, April 5, 2008

I’m working on this one now, but I’m leaving for the airport in about two hours so it may not get done today. Where am I going? I’ll tell you on Thursday 🙂

Here are some Magical, Musical, Makepeace-able links to check out while I’m still writing:

Ok. I put together a super long review of the Santa Cruz show, so I’ll try to keep this one more compact. First, Mraz and Bushwalla began the evening of entertainment by taking it to the streets, serenading those of us who were freezing our tails off in line outside the Fillmore. It looked like this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hd5sf6Ozu4U or this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=weIvVQTAZF8

Once we went inside, the Makepeace Brothers were already singing, but not on stage. A corner in the back of the room was set up for them right on the floor, with just a piece of tape marking the line between us and them. But wait, who’s that guy leaning over their shoulder for a chat? Yep, Jason again. Then he joined them for a quick couple of songs. It made for a funny experience, spacially, because most people were already camped out in front of the stage and didn’t want to give up their spots, so a large crowd stood looking at an empty stage while the headliner was performing behind them.

Jason then walked around a bit and went upstairs and talked to some people who looked like family members. Really, if you were in the theater and didn’t bump into Jason at least once, you just weren’t paying attention. It makes me wonder if the reason some boy bands have such crazed fans is because they run from fans, so the fans have the natural reaction to chase them. Because as Jason walked around it looked like very few people bothered him, other than to say hello. Or maybe it’s because his audience has an average age higher than 14.

Justin Kredible kicked off the show again and it was almost exactly the same from the Makepeace Brothers through Bushwalla, who tore the place up again but this time with a super bonus leotard ending. Giddy up.

The set list for this show was almost entirely different from the night before. It’s great that Jason has so much good material at this point that he can mix and match and put together a different show each time. It’s disappointing if you have your heart set on a song he doesn’t play, but exciting when he pulls up an older song that you haven’t heard in a while. For this night that included “0% Interest”, which is one of my favorite songs to hear live, what with the opera and the singing along and storytelling and other elements he adds to it.

For more details on the show, you can probably just hit YouTube. I’m guessing it’s all there somewhere. That’s the positive side of having all those little screens in your face, blocking your view – they give you something to look at after the show and keep your memories fresh. However, in a radio interview Jason did yesterday (4/9) in Chicago, he apparently said that while he doesn’t mind people recording audio from shows, he doesn’t like people to take video. I didn’t get details on why from the person who heard the interview, but there you go.

Hey Mr. Tamborine Man, play a song for me,

Review: Mraz at the Catalyst, April 4, 2008

How can you possibly sum up a show that had so much going on, so much talent on the stage, so much energy, so much creativity, and was nothing like any show you’ve ever seen before? Chronologically. Here goes.

6:30ish (All times, names and quotes are approximate because I couldn’t be bothered to take notes or anything official – yet another reason I was a terrible journalist and switched to more creative forms of writing.): I get into line with Christine, a very nice, cool girl who I met via the RKOP message boards and who volunteered to drive to Santa Cruz in exchange for my extra ticket. A very fair trade as I did not want to drive the windy road out of Santa Cruz late at night, half asleep.

6:40: Bushwalla comes out and makes balloon animals for people in line. I heard someone say the Makepeace Brothers were around as well, but I didn’t see them.

6:45: Jason comes out in jeans, tshirt, wool hat and glasses, hops into a little red car with an unidentified woman and older man (managers? press people?), and waves to the crowd as they drive away.

6:50: Toca comes out and chats with the crowd, takes photos, signs autographs, and I get to shout at him. It went something like:

Toca: I’m here at the back of the line where the real people are.
Some Chick: Oh, but the people in front have been waiting all day.
Toca: That’s true, they’ve been here a long time.
Me, butting in: Some of us had to WORK all day.
Toca, raising a fist in solidarity with the working people: That’s right, people are working for a living!

That was about it. He went inside after that.

7:00: Doors open and we go in. For the next hour we stand, looking at an empty stage.

8:00: Right on the dot, Justin Kredible takes the stage and begins his emcee work. He’s cute, and very tiny. He pulls off a couple of quick tricks and then introduces the Makepeace Brothers.

The Brothers sound a lot like Simon and Garfunkle, but there are three of them, and they really are brothers, like Hanson. I liked the cute one in the middle that wasn’t allowed to sing. It only occurred to me hours later that I was yet again drawn to the bass player. What is it with me and bass players? I don’t know, but it’s a definite trend.

8:30: It’s going to get a bit hazy now because I’m not sure when everyone was coming and going, and I’m getting bored with recording this chronologically. I should have gone by theme, or maybe by color coding outfits. The gist of it is that J Kreds, Bushwalla, Mraz and some other band members came out and did a big sing-a-long for the Brothers’ song “Things Gonna Wait”. It was reminiscent of the Curbside Prophets tour when all the acts sang together after Raul Midon’s part of the show, which is what Jason said would happen. The Prophet does not lie.

Next, Bushwalla took over the stage. I don’t just mean he took his turn, I mean he took the stage over his knee and he owned that bitch. He reached into the darkest, smelliest corners of the venue, sucked every person there into his time-music vortex and made us love him. All I knew about Bushwalla before this was what I saw on YouTube with him and Mraz (lesbian furniture anyone?), but seeing him live is a whole different animal. He’s vaudeville, he’s a Vegas lounge act, he’s the long-lost third Conchord, and with a voice like that, I imagine he could take over Broadway if he wanted to. It was quite a performance.

Mraz in Disguise

Then there was the black electrical tape. I just… well… it was… hmmm. It was Jason proving yet again that he has no ego, he doesn’t really care about being the center of attention, and that he’s just a guy who likes to hang out and make music with his friends. I mean, gosh. He’s swell.

(Update 4/14/08: Just found a good chunk of this show on YouTube from user sweetcacophony.)

More magic happened – magical magic, not musical magic – some of it pretty impressive (see clips here). Then Mraz took the stage, but with more of a soft caress than Bushwalla did. It was the kind of stage taking that would let the stage wake up the next morning thinking that he really cared, and wasn’t just walking all over her. He opened by himself with “Mr. Curiosity”, and it was… strange. Don’t get me wrong, he sounded great, it was just an odd way to start. The crowd by this point was super excited, screaming, ready to have a great time, and so to start with a really calm song that’s kind of a downer was an odd choice.

But, as soon as that was over the rest of the band joined him and they jumped into “Tonight, Not Again” which took me back to the first Mraz headlining show I saw, in Boston, 2003. It’s one of my favorite songs, starting with a little foreplay then building up to a powerful climax, then… *sigh* a relaxed state of bliss.

I didn’t keep track of the set list after that, but he mixed old and new, doing the four songs from We Sing along with “So Unusual”, “Butterfly” (a song he said he wrote after wondering whether there was a strip club anywhere in the world playing his music, deciding there wasn’t, and trying to write a song that would be strip club worthy), “Remedy”, “You and I Both”, “Dynamo of Volition” and a few more.

Bushwalla and the Makepeace Brothers came back for a huge grand finale that included the greatest freeze-action Polaroid photo shoot ever, and yes, there was an encore, and it was blah la la lovely.

A few other notes on the night:

Last week, Jon Baron asked me whether any guys went to Mraz shows, because the live stuff I gave him to listen to sounded like a Backstreet Boys concert with all the squealing and screaming. I assured him that lots of guys go to the shows. Well, during the audience participation segment of “Remedy”, Mraz said, “Just the ladies now!” The ladies started their part and Mraz laughed and said, “It doesn’t sound any different, does it?” He then encouraged the men to give it a try and even lowered his voice to a super baritone, to increase the testosterone in the room.

Mraz didn’t do a lot of talking, but did mention that the tour was going green, from the bio-diesal buses to the reusable drinking containers (no plastic bottles!). There was the usual love, love, love fest, chatter about being good to each other and good to yourself. And before saying a final goodnight, Jason left us with the overall message of the night: Practice kindness. Practice gratitude.

I think I’ll go practice right now.

We’re just one big family,

My New and Improved New Year’s Wish

Jason Mraz + Flight of the Conchords

Mraz and Bushwalla Flight of the Conchords

Put them all together, what a wonderful world it would be.

(Runner up wish: Russell T. Davies + Joss Whedon. It would be the greatest cowboy/vampire-loves-an-English-shopgirl/hooker-traveling-through-time-and-space show ever.)