Concert Review: Mac Ayres at House of Blues

Written by , on April 17, 2023

Mac Ayres and opener Micah Edwards swayed House of Blues with their soulful vocals and instrumentals.

The air smelled of spring as we got our tickets at the box office. With tickets in our hands, we entered the venue to see walls full of décor, upstairs seating, a stocked merchandise table and a well-lit stage. The stage welcomed couples with glee and fashionable teens waiting for the show.

At 8 o’clock on the dot, Micah Edwards appeared on the stage playing beautiful jazzy chords. Pink and blue lights surrounded the chords as he sang in his deep raspy voice, giving a nod to old-school Texas soul. “Hey Houston!” – the Houston-based musician greeted the audience. He began his lovely set. He opened with a blues rock record showing the band’s detailed chord progression and guitar solos. This bright record transitioned into a soft melody emphasizing Edward’s soulful vocals. However, the song that really showed his musical talent was his unreleased track titled “Take Me There,” a song filled with pretty piano notes and lovely guitar strums. His performance was so amazing that an audience member yelled, asking for the song’s name. It was a funny moment for both Edwards and the audience.

His performance caused the audience to applaud, leaving a smile on his face. After belting this song, Micah ended his set with “Girl from the Valley.” He described how the song pays homage to his wife, with lyrics such as:

Ooh, sunkissed in the Rio Grande

Really did her some favors

Could never understand how your man

Even had a chance to win her

But she loves just like her mama

“Girl from the Valley” by Micah Edwards

With his wife in the crowd, he sang these lovely words affirming their love. Once the song ended, the blue lights mixed with orange and yellow around 8:30 p.m. The crowd settled and began to wait for Mac Ayres.

A little after 9 p.m., Mac Ayres set foot on the stage. The crowd’s applause echoed as they watched Ayres pick up his guitar. His outfit was down-to-earth, consisting of a baseball cap, brown pants and a black t-shirt with a gold chain. When the cheers settled, he began his set with the track titled “It’s Not,” which established the lovely runs Ayres would perform throughout the show. 

I finally know, finally know

Baby it’s you, it’s you, not everybody else this time

“It’s Not” by Mac Ayres

After these lines, Ayres shared two more songs from his new album, Comfortable Enough. The tracks “I Can’t Go On” and “Something Gotta Change” exemplify the jazz undertones and light falsettos of his music. His performance was full of vocal runs and soul that hyped the crowd as they sang along to the lines,

Take it all for now

Take it all for me

Heard you call out somebody’s name

“Something’s Gotta Change” by Mac Ayres

The same energy from the crowd was replicated in the track “Slow Down” from Ayres’s first album, Drive Slow. In the bridge, the crowd joined in the harmonies to the lines:

Baby I won’t slow down and I won’t say when

Tell me why I be comin’ round again

I’m ready to go again

Baby I won’t slow down and I won’t say no

“Slow Down” by Mac Ayres

Yet the tracks “Under” and “Every Night” fully immersed the audience into the Ayres experience. Both tracks contained catchy melodies, beautiful instrumentals, and Ayres’s smooth vocals. The band balanced piano, drums, bass and guitar in perfect harmony. With a hint of R&B and jazz, the audience could close their eyes and hum along both tunes in relaxed bliss.

After these songs, Ayres introduced his talented band members with Declan on bass, Jordan on keys, Chris on drums, Zach on sax and Morgan on guitar. With talented musicians, the band brought a melody-driven connection to Ayres’s vocals. Each member gained applause as Ayres explained how he considers his bandmates his best friends in the whole world.

With Houston being the 11th show on tour, Ayres thanked his fans for their attendance and for aiding his career. Appreciation constantly guided Ayres between songs as he demonstrated a humble attitude. After introducing the band, he transitioned to the song “Get to You Again.” With its catchy chorus, the crowd yelled in tune,

Finally think of starting with you

Can I start with you, oh?

How do I get to you again?

How do I get to you again?

“Get to You Again” Mac Ayres

He then calmed the crowd with songs about overcoming his depression, such as “Me v Myself,” “Sunny & 62” and “Cuts Heal in Time,” teaching his fans that they are doing enough for this world and they should not be hard on themselves. Along with the melancholy lyrics, the blue stage light expressed the somber tone of the music. It’s important for art to guide transitioning teens into their twenties, and Ayres respectfully guides them through his music.

The mood elevated when a fan gave Ayres a personalized t-shirt he accepted with praise. He showed the shirt to the crowd and smiled at the sweet moment. He thanked the fan for the gift and then told the audience to dance and sing along to the track “Get Away.” Couples surrounded the venue, swaying their hips as Ayres smiled at his fans.

The ending of the set highlighted two fan-favorite songs. The first track, “Calvin Joint,” describes Ayres missing his brother while moving away from his hometown. It brought fans nostalgia with the recollection of Ayres’s first album. Yet the very last song of the set, “Easy,” ties in the song that broke out Ayres’s career as the crowd sang the chorus word by word with only instrumentals.

With an opener from H-town, lovely instrumentals, and Ayres’s fantastic voice, the show was an awesome experience. Ayres left the fans satisfied with hearing their favorite tracks live. After such a great show, I hope he returns to Houston soon.

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