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Mraz Is the Remedy

Mraz and Stephen Kellogg Put on a Mellow Show

By Ravi Kapoor

Jason Mraz and Stephen Kellogg

The Roxy

Sept. 3, 8 p.m.

If I had a nickel for every time a woman screamed, thinking that Jason Mraz was singing only to her and not an entire crowd, I’d put Bill Gates to shame. As soon as I entered the Roxy, I thought I had stumbled upon a brothel. As I stood in the audience staring at the disco ball like the stoner next to me, I pondered how this concert would go down. Since I am a veteran of only rock and punk concerts, this was a bit of a deviation from my normal experience. I imagined Jason Mraz could tour and open for Dave Matthews Band, John Mayer, or Incubus.

I heard what seemed to be the voice of God whispering that Liz Phair was going to open for Mraz. Then two men walked out on stage. The man that looked short and scrawny I deduced to be the singer. He picked up an acoustic guitar and headed towards the microphone. As the taller of the two sat down behind the keys, I wondered when the rest of the band was coming out but soon discovered that this was the entire band. The emaciated figure that almost disappeared behind the microphone stand was Stephen Kellogg, a local artist who used to play Faneuil Hall. While I did not find his music particularly engaging, I was impressed that Mraz chose Kellogg to open for him.

Stephen Kellogg played an entirely acoustic set, but the energy and showmanship made up for the softer music. I was particularly happy that the setup time between sets was short since Kellogg only had to take off a guitar, keyboard, and bass.

When Jason Mraz came out, I was not prepared for the stampede of high heels towards the stage. I perched myself up on the stairs alongside of the stage (the only place besides the floor I was allowed to go, the bastards).

Despite my aversion towards the crowd, Jason Mraz and accompaniment put on a truly amazing show. The vocals were perfect; he is a natural singer. I had only heard two songs from his album -- “The Remedy” and “You and I Both” -- so I was surprised when he began to scat. I knew he was a mellow rapper with a guitar and could freestyle like no other, but I had no idea he could scat and sing.

Mraz played practically every song off of his album, but the show lasted much longer, especially the encore. I covered my ears while the high-pitched screams sustained long after the band left the stage. A few minutes later, Mraz and the band came back out and did a 15-minute encore. Every musician busted a solo while Jason Mraz ran around stage with a Polaroid taking pictures and launching them into the audience.

I left the Roxy with a strange feeling. While I enjoyed the music and the variations of Mraz’s songs, I didn’t feel tired from jumping around or moshing. I guess a chill concert like the one I had just experienced suits a lot of people, but unfortunately I didn’t feel at home. I am just an addict when it comes to high energy, loud,distorted music. But if for someone who enjoys the occasional, laid-back concert, I recommend catching Mraz when he comes back to Boston in early October.