If you weren’t in the depths of le poisson rouge, pressed into the confines of their performance space on the lower level to see Tuxedo on Monday night, you were definitely doing it wrong. This duo comprised of soul maestro Mayer Hawthorne and producer Jake One, came together to form the group after creating their funk tunes so they had something “to bump in their ride.”
The haphazard nature of how Tuxedo came to be is kind of the beauty of it. Who knew we needed a funk band right at this moment, particularly the one I witnessed, with the pair donning powder blue tuxedos with tails, ruffled shirts and white shoes to match. The band included many of the same players that Mayer Hawthorne regularly employs on his own solo tours, with one addition – disco pop songstress Gavin Turek. Clad in a sparkly gold sequined romper and hair even more wild and bigger than mine, she added another layer of spice and intrigue to the performance that I absolutely loved.
Working their way through the majority of their self-titled debut album, the vibe in the room was electric. It’s very hard to get a New York crowd legitimately dancing these days, but they proved that it’s almost inevitable you’ll start to move when the groove hits just right. Mayer worked the crowd like the seasoned performer he is, serenading women in the front row and making eye contact with the majority of the fans eager to get closer. Jake spent more time focused on the beats, but used his time in the spotlight wisely, tapping out synth breakdowns with perfection.
Highlights include “Lost Lover,” “Number One,” my personal favorite “Do It,” a clever cover of Chic’s “I Want Your Love” that was preceded by an amazing story of when Mayer actually met Nile Rodgers, and the encore, that included both Mayer and Jake returning to the stage with glasses of Hennessey and Ginger ale for Mayer’s song “Henny and Gingerale.”
If this funk machine happens to roll through your town, do yourself a favor and dust off that old tux, shine up your best shoes and “fux with the tux.”
Article: Lesley Keller