Bruno Mars @ Birmingham Academy, 18th August 2011

Peter Gene Hernandez (Bruno Mars) was in Birmingham at the o2 academy. The chart topping 25 year old wowed the audience with his catchy co-written hooks and funky choreography. Influenced by Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson yet incorporating reggae and Mo town in his music Bruno Mars offers a variety. Bruno’s falsetto voice may be criticised as soft but his different styles and genres make up for that and stop Mars sounding like an auto tuned robot. Throughout the set Mars engaged the audience with thrusting and well-choreographed routines (The Lazy Song.) Bruno Mars is everything that pop music should be.

Bruno Mars may have been great but his support band really “didn’t feel like doing anything” good. In my opinion they were there to make Bruno Mars look better and psyche the crowd up more. At a Bruno Mars concert you would expect the crowd interaction to be huge but the support band seemed to lose audience participation. So good that I cannot find their name anywhere!

It was an unusual entrance to the stage something which Tyler the creator may come onto or used in a prize fighter brawl. Hat slunk and guitar at the ready Bruno was ready to go trombones and all. Despite the different styles Bruno Mars is inspired by, all of his songs are in the pop genre. However many covers Bruno plays, all of his songs are pop. This isn’t a bad thing as Mars defines this genre well, (not every song devised by four chords.) The solo gig at the packed out arena showed why he isn’t just a collaboration partner (Nothing on you and Billionaire) but can write his own catchy songs (Marry you and Grenade.) However, the one hour slot was noticeable. In most gigs the headliner performs for at least 2 hours, Bruno’s lack of songs must have been the reason for this.

I almost fell asleep at “Talking to the moon” and “Our first time” as they just went on and on probably just to fill the set. But soon after “Grenade” started and the crowd went wild “Just the way you are” was a great song to end with and apparently Mars “proudest creation” probably because it made him the most money or maybe just because he likes the song. Critics argue that Mars makes songs for maximum appeal but I believe that Mars does truly want to be meaningful and his songs mean something to him. He wants to be soulful and tuneful but to be recognised as an R&B artist Bruno needs to write R&B songs. After co-writing “F*** you” there has got to be a “hooligan” side to him, he can’t just be a doo wap! Come on Bruno write a song with a swear word in it and maybe Tyler the creator will ease off with his abusive tweeting. Then you’ll sell more records to different audience not just teenage girls. To be a 17 year old boy and admit to listening to Bruno Mars is embarrassing. You used to sing Elvis songs for a living for goodness sake, write something that isn’t about a teenage crush.

Your songs are too chart friendly Bruno, you’ve got millions in the bank now write a song about real life situations your halfway there in “The Lazy Song” where you mention “sex.” People who aren’t chart friendly are often the most loved by the public and less hated by fellow stars. Maybe that’s why Odd Future dislike you so much because your songs get to the charts and theirs don’t, (I personally wouldn’t care if they liked me or not) but these kind of artists dislike people who write songs to make money (Chris Brown.)

Overall the gig was an enjoyable hour and showed off Bruno Mars’s voice. He doesn’t need auto tune, did he have auto tune in Hawaii? I seriously doubt it. He’s a likeable character who can reach amazing notes. Now all he needs is a song that represents all of his so called influences and everyone will like him.

Review – John Kirby

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