Saturday evening, welcomed back Grammy Award-winning R&B soul singer/songwriter Macy Gray. As a music hound, I was especially excited about this event. It’s not everyday we have someone of Ms. Gray’s caliber performing in our small Laguna Beach community.
As I walked into a packed house at Mozambique, it was clear to me that I was not alone in my sentiments. I’m fairly new to town, and I’m still finding the little gems in Laguna Beach. Simply put, I regret not finding Mozambique earlier. In my humble opinion, the set-up of sound and backline equipment sets Mozambique above the rest, as far as live music venues here in Laguna. Tony Nguyen does a superb job of engineering this amazing million-dollar system that any artist would be happy to perform with.
The night started off with soul/funk/jazz band Upstart. It was obvious that the crowd was ready for some good entertainment, and Upstart did not disappoint. Lead singers Michael Cartwright, Adryon Gross and the band performed cover songs as well as originals. They were a great opening act for Macy, and received an overwhelmingly positive audience response.
After a short intermission, Macy Gray took the stage. She was bigger than life, and partially because of her two-foot high blonde afro—a real visual magnet. Macy stepped up to the mic, and took over the night with her raspy, powerful voice. Gray had the crowd in the palm of her hand from her opening song, “Why Didn’t You Call Me,” to her closing number, “I Try.” Her command of the stage, as well as the audience, was apparent.
Macy performed only eight songs, but she definitely didn’t leave the crowd feeling empty. Each song was performed by Gray and her band so well and with such intensity that it felt more like a full-length concert. At one point, it became a huge sing-along. Anyone there who knew her songs joined in. Macy is a consummate performer and a class act.
I thoroughly enjoyed my evening at Mozambique, and the opportunity to see an artist who I’ve listened to over the years in such an intimate setting. The fact that the drive home was five minutes long didn’t hurt, either.
You can check Mozambique’s calendar for Macy Gray’s return date this summer, and more live shows at their website here.