Maroon 5 give a little more than their hits at Pavilion

Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine (pictured in New York last month). Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine (pictured in New York last month). (Bryan Bedder/Getty Images/File)
By Sarah Rodman
Globe Staff / August 11, 2010

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At one point during Maroon 5’s delightfully breezy show Monday night at the Bank of America Pavilion, frontman Adam Levine was having so much fun he had to stop and calm himself.

The singer jokingly summoned all of the appropriate qualities required for the Cali dance-rock quintet to appropriately slow its roll for a set of ballads, including “She Will Be Loved’’ and a sultry cover of Alicia Keys’s “If I Ain’t Got You.’’ “Sensitivity, vulnerability — I’m not laughing, I’m crying on the inside,’’ Levine intoned, fighting back a grin. “Emote — make them feel what you’re feeling.’’

It was a funny moment on a seemingly blessed night during which good weather, good crowd energy, and a good band — that clearly understands the virtues of rehearsal — collided for 90 minutes of neatly manicured Top 40 gems.

Not too shabby, considering Maroon 5 was making lemonade out of the fact that they’d been downsized from the Comcast Center (and still didn’t quite fill the place).

But all that mattered to the folks who did make it out to the show were the band’s steady grooves, fuzzy synths, and guitar licks, and Levine’s swoony falsetto. Slick hits like “This Love,’’ “Makes Me Wonder,’’ and “Harder to Breathe’’ percolated with blue-eyed funk charm, retaining their studio polish while still managing to swing as live entities. The band hit its marks with a pleasing crispness and Levine was a cheerfully vital frontman balancing schmaltz, raunch, humor, and defiance. Particularly strong was “Wake Up Call,’’ with its stuttering keys, head-bobbing rhythms, and cheeky revenge fantasy.

The band offered a preview of its forthcoming third album, “Hands All Over,’’ due out Sept. 21. Considering their enthusiastic reception, several of the tunes are clearly going to go over like gangbusters once their fans commit them to heart — and they will. And it would seem a good bet that “Stutter,’’ with its glammy backbeat and sexy sentiment, will find its way onto the airwaves; as will the disco-fired “Give a Little More,’’ which featured a scathing guitar break.

Maroon 5 was preceded by a trio of opening acts, which was about 2 1/2 too many.

Brit V.V. Brown got a speedy 20 minutes to strut her dusky soul stuff. Owl City did a competent and crowd-pleasing half hour that included a singalong of its twee, and once inescapable, pop hit “Fireflies.’’ Signing up intriguing rock and soul funkateer Janelle Monáe — whose new album is a concept piece about cyborgs — as a surprise guest may have boosted the cred of the headliners, but given the sorry state of the sound for her set and her own insistence on taking every song to extreme melismatic climax, it didn’t do the critics’ darling herself any favors.

Sarah Rodman can be reached at


With Janelle MonŠe, Owl City, and V.V. Brown

At: Bank of America Pavilion, Monday