July 27, 2002

John Mayer/Guster Rock A. Finkl

By Randy J. Klodz

A. Finkl & Sons Co. was home to more than just metal products on Saturday, July 27. House of Blues and Bud Light hosted an outdoor summer party at A. Finkl & Sons Co., that gigantic blue steel factory at 2011 N. Southport Ave., and became home to 10,000 sweat-laden mostly twenty-somethings itching for the sight of two bands: Guster and the headlining and soon-to-be-a-household-name John Mayer.

The Bostonian threesome that form Guster started the action and got the packed crowd moving to their unique beats. Vocalist and guitarist Ryan Miller, whose poofy blond hair resembles the hair-do of Incubus guitarist Michael Einziger, energized the crowd with his hopping energy as fellow vocalist and guitarist Adam Gardner strummed away on his guitar as the crowd began singing along to Guster's cover of The Mama & The Papas' "California Dreamin'."

Guster's unique sound does not stop at the crafty lyric writing and slick guitar progressions, but continues on to the percussion project known as Brian Rosenworcel. Often, Rosenworcel would have a typical drum stick in one hand, while bare-handedly beating a bongo drum with the other, creating a refreshing and uplifting sound to many of their songs, including the acclaimed "Airport Song."

Guster has toured with the likes of Dave Matthews Band, Blues Traveler and Bob Dylan, and is scheduled to stay aboard the John Mayer tour until its end on Sept. 14 at Hi Fi Buys Amphitheatre, in Atlanta.

While many of the halter-topped females and well-dressed lads came to experience Guster, many more were their to set their eyes (and ears) on Atlanta-born pop-song powerhouse John Mayer.

John Mayer has been brewing a fan base since the release of his current album "Room for Squares," and the radio abundance of his single "No Such Thing." The lights dimmed to begin Mayer's 120-minute set while Nelly's "Hot in Herre" played over the loudspeaker. Mayer quickly grabbed his acoustic guitar and addressed the crowd, "My name is John Mayer, I'm here to play music, and that's what I'm going to do," right before he played the first chord to "3x5."

Mayer stuck mostly to songs from his "Room for Squares" album such as "Why Georgia," "City Love" and "Your Body is a Wonderland," but played two tracks from his self-released album "Inside Wants Out." The titles "Love Soon" and "Comfortable" can be found on "Inside Wants Out," which is only available online after Aug. 9 and at select shows.

In the fashion of Guster, Mayer worked a full cover of INXS's "Never Tear Us Apart," and added lyrics from Sting, Cyndi Lauper and Tenacious D songs to his current pieces.

"I'm an arrogant [person] and I never realized how cool this was," Mayer said, reflecting on the size of the A. Finkl crowd, and his ability to get his fans to sing his songs at the strum of a chord. "I promise to play as long as you want to hear it," Mayer later said to the throng of fans. Judging from the reaction of the A. Finkl crowd, if Mayer keeps playing, there will be plenty around to listen.

John Mayer Photo: Randy J. Klodz