Mondays are for returning to the grind, stocking up on whatever your source of caffeine is, griping about how your weekend went and why that date you had was a mistake. And by any fan of Andrew W.K.’s standards, partying. After seeing my first K-Pop show followed by a grown man riding a unicorn that I can only describe as being something of a mash up of Willy Wonka meets Pink Floyd’s The Wall, this was a fun way to complete the trifecta. Talking with Andrew during my interview with him Tuesday I anticipated this show to be one packed with energy and undoubtedly full of throw back party rock anthems. Andrew and the band delivered on all fronts.
The opener was an artist I hadn’t heard of but between the Minneapolis tribute song and their cover of Rhinestone Cowboy, they had my full attention. Mark Mallman came on stage rocking a Rick and Morty shirt with jean jacket. I feel the need to take pause for this because this is the opener for a band that has a pizza slice guitar. I’ll let you process that. Continue when ready. Mark and his band though under the radar for myself and a lot of the audience was a perfect opener I felt. Energetic, at times chaotic, but highly entertaining and animated Mark rocked out. Rhinestone Cowboy had my laughing hard for what should have been a party rock show. But how can you not chuckle when you walk out of the bathroom after just hearing head banger choruses to suddenly throw backs of that caliber. Closing out their set Mark and the band jammed to their signature tribute, Minneapolis, which is so easy to pick up the words to that the crowd was singing along by song’s end.
Andrew W.K.’s entrance to First Ave was everything and nothing I had expected all at once. I almost wish the entrance music itself had been a song because the keyboardist was either improvising on point or this is a glimmer of something from Andrew’s upcoming album. From a glance at the set list the song is called “Music Is Worth Living For” but if you try to find it anywhere on Spotify or Youtube you won’t find anything. I’ll let you judge that for yourself but back on point. During the conversation I had with Andrew the week prior I knew he wanted to make a statement when returning to First Ave after his last full band visit where he had been ridiculously sick. I can’t speak for everyone else at the show, but I think he more than made up for things.
If you have seen Andrew and his band live before you know he plays a lot from the I Get Wet album. Some may complain about this, nobody I know, but ya know what. It isn’t broke so he doesn’t need to fix it. Thought a lot of the set was from I Get Wet, a good amount was pulled from Close Calls With Brick Walls. Which personally I will never tire of that title and it fits in brilliantly with the pairing of Jackass films and AndrewW.K. music. That’s another topic and review in itself though.
The show overall was everything I had hoped for to be honest. I hadn’t heard any poor reviews of Andrew W.K. shows in the past and surprising amounts of friends were jealous that they couldn’t make it. And despite the high energy “let’s destroy brain cells and maybe the living room furniture” vibe and head banging that occurred the crowd was there for nothing but to enjoy themselves and appreciate the spectacle. I can only speculate on what the next album in 2018 is going to entail. But if this music can carry the energy it has for nearly 15 years then I am excited to hear as many songs with the word party in them as Andrew and his band mates want to pump out. Even if you are not prone to the genre which is party rock, I would recommend giving Andrew W.K. a shot if in your town. It’s hard not to enjoy yourself while a man plays pizza guitar and has the energy of a 5 year old while head banging and playing piano to sing alongs.
Also, if you want to see Andrew display his talents in a MUCH different setting and have your mind blown by a piano version of I Get Wet
Andrew W.K. NPR Tiny Desk Performance
Setlist: Music is Worth Living For(?)/Take It Off/Ready To Die/Totally Stupid/She Is Beautiful/Tear It Up/You Will Remember Tonight/The Moving Room/Party Til You Puke/Never Let Down/We Want Fun/I Love NYC/I Get Wet/It’s Time To Party/Girls Own Love/Pushing Drugs/Dont Stop Living In The Red/Party Hard