I can’t say I’ve ever missed Andrew McMahon when he’s come through town, and that’s been a lot of times considering his career longevity.
Whether it’s Something Corporate, Jack’s Mannequin or Andrew as a solo artist, I always know I’m in for a good time.
In the couple of weeks before he came through DC, I’d had some time to spend with his newest release/transformation, Andrew McMahon In The Wilderness. I wasn’t a huge fan of his recent solo EP because I’m not a big electro-pop fan, but his new record really added a pop sheen and more piano, which is classic Andrew.
I’d picked my favorites and had my fingers crossed–Halls and Maps For The Getaway were at the top of my list, and I wasn’t disappointed.
When I arrived, the first opening act, Junior Prom, were part way through their set. Again, not being interested in more electronic music, they just didn’t do it for me. There’s something about having only a guitarist/singer and drummer onstage with a computer but mysterious other sounds and vocals that doesn’t sit well with me.
Next up was Hunted Hunted, an LA-based indie pop band. Indie is not really my scene either, but the band put on a great set and had people cheering and dancing along by the end.
I really loved that they had a (female!) violin player. I can’t say I’ve ever seen another band besides Yellowcard with a violin and I think it really adds to the live sound. They were catchy and upbeat for sure and really got the crowd going with “Operating” and their hit “Keep Together”.
I think both bands were a great package for Andrew’s new sound.
When he finally hit the stage, Andrew started slow and moody with the piano ballad Rainy Girl, then segued right into two of my favorite tracks, Jack’s Mannequin’s Dark Blue and the SoCo b-side Watch The Sky. I could have died right there, but I had photos to take!
Andrew has had such a long and varied career that he’s got a huge catalog to choose from. He ended up playing eight of the 10 tracks on Andrew McMahon In The Wilderness, which was a real treat, as well as stripped down/reimagined versions of a few fan favorites like The Mixed Tape, Miss California, and Cavanaugh Park.
Andrew has been through a lot in his life and I remember seeing him on several Jack’s dates after he’d been through the trauma of cancer and chemotherapy. It was so obvious he was happy to be alive and healthy and I think that’s what really made me connect to him and his music. The passion always seems to shine through, and while his new music may be a bit more chill for him to play, with fewer musicians on stage and slightly less action, it’s still an awesome sight to step back from the stage after I take photos and just take it all in.
Since many of Andrew’s fans have grown up with him over the years, they’re now in their late 20s or early 30s and probably wouldn’t be bouncing around during the show. It’s been interesting to see the dynamic of his shows change with him. At the 9:30 Club, for his newer music, people were more likely to dance or stand in the back of the room with a beer and bob their head.
When an early Jack’s song came up, the energy went up a bit and when an old SoCo song came around, everyone in the room was singing along.
If you’re a fan of Andrew at any stage of his career, there’s something for you to love on this tour. Catch him on the remaining dates.
Watch The Sky
The Mixed Tape
All Our Lives
Driving Through A Dream
Holiday From Real
I’m Woke Up In A Car
Cecilia And The Satellite
Maps For The Getaway
La La Lie
Check out more photos from the show here.