SHOW REVIEW: John Maus @ The Regent

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There are many a band that lend their name from that of the frontman despite much of the music resting on the shoulders of its other members. In learning that John Maus was performing at the Regent, I expected such. However, what I thought to be an eponym of Maus' name was in fact just Maus himself, I was taken aback. He appeared on stage solo, decked in his relaxed fit jeans, button-up, and chunky sneaks in what can only be described as aughts prep. But don’t let the dad getup fool you, because when he settles into the spotlight he transforms himself into the angsty rebel-without-a-cause teen that resides in the hearts of us all. Maus’ style is intensely physical: he beats his chest with his hands, he wops himself with the mic, he sways to and fro like a deranged version of one of those dippy birds. It is uncomfortable, you feel like you’re witnessing an episode too personal and private for your viewing. I couldn’t help but feel the urge to stop him, to grab him by the shoulders and say listen John! you don’t have to do this, it’s gonna be alright...There were perhaps others who feared for him as I did, given the woman that managed to storm the stage twice—goofily dancing in a way meant to distract us from how sad we were. But he is unreachable and he is alone, and he’s forced to face the demons in solitude just as we all are. So he can’t help but dance, it’s the only release he’s got. His message was well-received, people danced in a real way not just in that tap-your-feet-nod-your-head kinda way that we all do when we’re too insecure to do anything else. There was jumping, the accidental bumping, the intentional bumping, people closed eyes swaying. Every display was accepted, encouraged even, for no one was judging. And just as suddenly as he appeared before us and bravely gave us a glimpse of the ethereal he flitted backstage and returned from where he came.

-- Violet Ames, DJ