Last Night: Jessica Lea Mayfield | Rock Candy

Last Night: Jessica Lea Mayfield

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Mayfield, not at Sticky Fingerz.

Jessica Lea Mayfield
Sticky Fingerz, Oct. 6

Jessica Lea Mayfield, just now 20, is so unimposing and slight in stature one wouldn’t guess she’s the newest hot-shit folk-rocker. Not necessarily known for her ability to turn a phrase, her lyrics rely upon themes of “dark companions,” romantic apathy and  “I ain’t gonna change for nobody” mantras. Her intrigue lies in the disarming cynicism of that delicate voice. But after each number last night, her face reflected the sheepish bewilderment of an insecure teen. It’s as if her worldliness lay entirely in her throat.

When she dismissed her backing band for a few solo numbers, her performance wavered.  The onstage interplay between Mayfield and lead guitarist Richie Kilpatrick mimicked the relationship of a child star and her handler, with her defaulting to him for cues and questions. She refrained from quipping to the audience or making requests of the soundman. She nervously diddled with her capo. In the introduction to her lauded cover of Buddy Holly’s “Words of Love,” she cheapened the moment by mentioning its inclusion on a Starbucks Valentine’s Day compilation. Yet the audience, almost too easily entranced by the otherworldly tones of this frail creature, didn’t chatter or remove their eyes from her at any point during the show.

Natalie Elliott

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