Despite the holiday weekend, concertgoers flocked to Maxwell’s Saturday for an intimate night of music. While it’s uncertain who the main draw of the night was — Jason Reeves or Tyrone Wells — it is evident that at the end of the night, all walked away fans of both performers.
Jason Reeves took the stage shortly after 7 p.m. with ballad, “Pretty Eyes.” Since the release of his album, The Magnificent Adventures of Heartache (and other frightening tales…) last month, I’ve been awaiting his local performance and he didn’t disappoint. His album has that acoustic singer-songwriter feel, but in person the musical accompaniment is much richer. Between acoustic, electric and bass guitars, as well as keyboard and light percussion features, the backing band only accentuated Reeves’ vocals during their nearly 40-minute set. Additionally, his onstage banter with the audience brought each song to life.
Before introducing second song of the set, “You In A Song,” Reeves told the crowd, “Don’t be afraid to sing along if you know the words. And if you don’t, make up the words, I won’t be able to tell.” Definitely livelier than the album version, Reeves’ band had many in attendance bobbing their heads and singing along throughout his set.
“Anybody here from New Hampshire?” Reeves asked the room to which one fan yelled, “I’m from Toronto, Canada!” Before playing, “New Hampshire,” Reeves joked with the fan, saying, “Toronto is pretend New Hampshire in this next song.” With intriguing keyboard effects, the song was solid and had many intently watching the stage throughout additional drum and guitar interludes. Highlight of the song was when Reeves alternated from acoustic to electric guitar, awing the crowd with his prowess as he played. Screams could be heard from the audience and I couldn’t help but wonder if this is what it was like seeing John Mayer play before he began selling out stadiums. Definitely an artist to watch; I’m curious to see where Jason Reeves will be in a few years.
The rest of his set was solid and a bit reminiscent to story-time as Reeves told the crowd the meaning behind his next few heartbreaking songs. “This song is about my two least favorite words ever, especially when they’re put in a sentence together,” Reeves said. “If you’re breaking up with someone, whatever you do, don’t tell them that you want to be just friends because that’s bullshit,” he continued before introducing next track, aptly titled, “Just Friends.” Seeing him perform this song live, the listener felt the tension and anger more than listening to the album could ever get across.
Soon after, Jason and his band began singing the first few verses of “Reaching” a capella before his two band members exited the stage, leaving him to end the night onstage solo. His voice blending well with his guitar, Reeves walked away from the microphone to sing a few lines to the crowd. An intimate gesture, the room grew silent to hear him clearly.
Introducing last song of the night, “Gasoline,” Reeves told the crowd, “I’m not a mean and evil person, but sometimes people do something so messed up that you can’t help but get them back. For me, the best way to get back was to write a song about them,” he said before continuing his tale. “When you sleep with your boyfriend’s best friend, I don’t understand what else you’re supposed to do,” he said to a shocked crowd. “This is the super mellow version of the song. It’s no less angry.” Playing onstage alone, you could hear the angst in Reeves’ lyrics and guitar accompaniment. Most definitely the edgiest song of the night, words like, “She’s covering my heart with gasoline/I’m going down much faster than anything I’ve ever seen/Gasoline/She’s a heartless bitch, telling me to keep my mouth clean” told the story in itself.
Tyrone Wells followed Reeves’ set and proved to be just as good a storyteller. Wells’ nearly hour-long set impressed, as he had many in attendance singing along to fan favorites including, “Falling,” “Dream Like New York” and “Baby Don’t You Change.” In addition, Wells surprised the crowd by beat boxing. “Hoboken is bringing the old school out in me,” he told the crowd. “That was a turn table in case you were wondering.”
Reeves re-entered the stage, accompanying Wells on “Give Me One Reason,” a song they co-wrote together. By the end of the night, Maxwell’s was buzzing with excitement as lucky concertgoers stuck around to meet and chat with each artist. On tour until the end of the month, Reeves and Wells show no signs of slowing down.
Watch the video of Jason and Tyrone playing “Give Me One Reason” below.
Special thanks to Deana Koulosousas for the great live shots of the show Saturday night!