On a cold night in Deep Ellum, a crowd of people who probably looked really good under their winter coats gathered in Three Links for a night of rock and roll with Jessica Lea Mayfield and Sun Seekers. Jessica headlined the show as part of her tour promoting her standout album, Sorry Is Gone, which is her way of telling the world that she’s done being stepped on.
Daniel Markham, a Denton singer-songwriter, opened the show with a short set. He performed by himself, just a guitar, pedal board, and voice to convey his message. As Sun Seekers said during their set, it was impressive how he was able to take charge of the venue by himself. With his lyrically complex and compelling songs, he captured the crowd’s attention and ended to gracious applause.
Sun Seekers from Nashville took the stage next. They eased into their set with slow and atmospheric music while the lead singer wandered around the stage and crooned before grabbing his guitar and joining in on the increasingly layered music. The songs had a 50’s feel to them while the band members in an assortment of cardigans and button up shirts looked like they’d be able to recommend some good poetry. People in the crowd swayed and grooved to the music from start to finish.
Jessica Lea Mayfield brought the show to an end dressed in a bold sequin shirt with even bolder glitter eye makeup, blue lipstick, and pink hair. Two of the members of Sun Seekers backed her as well as her own lead guitarist. Jessica said a quiet, “Hi,” then went right into her first song. The audience was enamored with her from the beginning, dancing and singing along with the music from Sorry is Gone. After four songs played almost without stopping, Jessica’s band left the stage and she faced the crowd alone. Her quiet voice and her lyrics speaking of loneliness and love shined when only accompanied by her guitar. With a renewed vigor, she finished the set backed by her band, playing the title track from her new album followed by “Blue Skies Again,” a song written by her brother David, signaling that as she takes charge of her life, things are turning around for her.
When Jessica left the stage, the crowd initially cheered for an encore but quieted when the house lights came on. But a few minutes later, they dimmed again and she returned for one more quick song. Moments after she left the stage, a fight broke out between the two most drunk groups at the show, which was not the way I expected a night of mellow rock to end.
I know Jessica through her friendship to musicians in the folk music world, so this wasn’t my typical scene. Though I liked the music and wholeheartedly support Jessica’s mission to speak out against abuse, I found the experience to be a bit monotonous. I’d like it if I was sitting at home in a comfortable chair. Standing for an hour while surrounded by increasingly drunk people was not the best environment for it to get to my heart.