“This is a secret show, right?” said Mayer Hawthorne at the start of his performance at the opulent Grand Ballroom of the Park Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles. “Well, tonight, the secret word is fun.” He kept his word for the next 90 minutes, as he and his nimble band, The County, blazed through two dozen songs in his updated classic soul style, infused with everything from doo-wop to hip-hop. Over the course of the evening, Hawthorne and his band thrilled an invitation-only crowd of 400 with a set featuring selections from Hawthorne’s acclaimed album, How Do You Do, plus such fan favorites as “Green Eyed Love.”
Mayer Hawthorne is the pseudonym of singer, songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist Andrew Cohen. Born and raised in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Cohen grew up listening to the classic Motown soul, funk, and hip-hop of nearby Detroit. In 2009, Mayer Hawthorne’s first full-length album, A Strange Arrangement was released to critical acclaim and support from big name artists such as Kanye West and Justin Timberlake. Two years later, the equally well-received How Do You Do hit shelves, cementing Hawthorne’s place amongst the young retro-revivalist artists of today.
The Park Plaza Hotel was built in 1925 as a lodge for the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. Designed by renowned art deco architect Claud Beelman. The Neo-Gothic structure – with its majestic angel statues, soaring arches, and painted murals – was designated a Historic-Cultural Monument by the City of Los Angeles in 1983.