Sunday, September 27, 2009

Show Review - Jessica Lea Mayfield - Schenley Park - 9/25/09 - Concert Review

Here is a guest reviewer on the Jessica Lea Mayfield show at Schenley:

The city of Pittsburgh was the center of a conflict between anti-g20 protesters and police forces. You could feel the tension building in the air in the hazy Friday evening. For an hour and a half there was a welcome reprieve from the tension. Jessica Lea Mayfield began strumming her acoustic guitar under the tent at Schenly Plaza and everyone listened patiently. The crowd was a mix of families, college students, and out of town protesters. The event had even been broadcast on the twitter page of the g20 resistance, later calling it 'Very Peaceful'.

This was not Jessica's first time in pittsburgh. She had been here several months earlier for the Pittsburgh Arts festival Downtown opening for 'The Black Keys', whose guitarist, Dan Aurbach, helped produce here first album. However, at this venue she was not joined by her brother David, who had previously accompanied her on the upright bass. I was a bit disappointed by this, but then I realized, there wouldn't have been room for him to roll around on the floor of that small stage with such a large instrument as he had done at the arts festival. However, this made the show even more intimate, with Jessica's dark, heartfelt sound.

Jessica Lea played songs mostly from her first album, blasphemy so heartfelt. Iterestingly enough the protesters targets were somewhat present even here, the event was co-sponsored by whole foods, and Jessica Lea sang a song, words of love, which was included on the Starbucks compilation "Sweetheart '09 (Our Favorite Artists Sing Their Favorite Love Songs)". Despite this, there were no complaints from the audience.

As the show wound down and night fell, it was obvious of the police presence as police in riot gear slowly gathered in an adjacent walkway and fire trucks began to circle the lawn looking for parking. However, the finale was untouched by conflict. Jessica Lea couldn't get away without a large round of applause from the audience, begging for one more song. She complied with a final encore performance of 'I can't lie to you, love'.

People slowly wandered away as the lights went down under the tent. However, later, the Schenley Plaza would become the scene for yet another protest, sending college students running from tear gas as collateral damage.

Also see a great pre-show article at the pittsburgh citypaper.