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Andy Grammer at The Grove, Wednesday, July 30th 2014, Reviewed

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Andy Grammer

Andy Grammer is a happy man who can quickly rebound on his feet when the sound is suddenly cut off. In the middle of his first song during his free concert at the Grove, there was some kind of mic problem (which was repaired quite fast) but, far from stopping singing, he finished the song a cappella with a very enthusiastic crowd’s participation. All his music involved a lot of this crowd’s cooperation, with lots of clapping and ooo-ooos sing-alongs… Was even there a song without any ooo-ooos somewhere in the chorus? I don’t think so.

Andy is a local phenomenon, just a few years ago he was busking on the Third Street promenade, a popular spot for aspiring artists, and the crowd on Wednesday night was really impressive with fans who had been camping on the sport since 1 pm… okay, I should curb my enthusiasm, draining a large crowd of 15 year-old (and below) doesn’t make you a pop superstar, or does it? The young girl on my right was certainly a super-über-hyper fan, sighting at every song, singing along, squeezing through the crowd to be in the front – I didn’t let her stand in front of me! – and asking a thousand times to the security guards (in vain) if she could go into the front section,… but she was like… 14? And there were even younger kids around me, 5 or 6 year-old, I am not sure, singing all the lyrics of ‘Keep You head Up’. Wait a minute, is this kids’ music or what?

Beside the ooo-oos and the clappings, Grammer’s music borrows to different folklores, navigating between John Mayer and Jack Johnson, and then you have the power-pop piano ballad, trite as an Hawaiian shirt in the middle of summer. But Andy Grammer is a happy guy, especially facing this large crowd in his hometown, his own neighborhood, he makes the crowd finish his lines, even the new ones (he has just released a new album but the girls already know the lyrics) and he does this a lot, giving more of these oooo-oooos backed up by some faux-jazz arrangements. When he is back on guitar, he is more into the Jack Johnson mode, making percussion with his mouth, and never going down from his high-exuberance trip. Then back with the mic in hand, he croons with some R&B modulations like a Michael-Bublé-crossed-with-Jason-Mraz wannabe, never letting the crowd’s mood down for a minute.

‘This one goes to the ladies’, he says letting no mystery behind his songs (but there’s none anyway) explaining this song is about waiting for your girl while she is taking too long to return from the bathroom… there’s no way someone could write a song about this! ‘This song is about wondering when to do the thing when you are in love’, he says before the next one, which makes the super fan girl giggle…’Some people wait till they are married!’… Really Andy, did you?

I am making fun of him, but you have to recognize he is a super enthusiastic performer, who puts dynamism in everything he sings, surrounded by musicians jumping like matching rabbits. Andy Grammer brought festive music in the middle of summer, ending his show with this ‘Keep Your Head Up’ radio hit (or is it one already?) with some Mumford and Sons banjo crap, a very happy song (not exactly in the Pharrell-Williams sense of the term but close enough) which has reached the Billboard Hot 100 in the US. It is music that passes through your brain without changing the spin of an atom, but it’s not unpleasant at all, you just watch kids having fun while waiting patiently till the concert ends.

More pictures of the show here.

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