Some fans of Andrew McMahon have grown up and come of age with his music. From rock band Something Corporate in the late '90s and early 2000s to the piano-heavy Jack's Mannequin to his current solo incarnation, Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, McMahon has been making music for years, with plenty of fans sticking with him along the way. This spring, McMahon is taking his music on the road with a little help from his friends, and the result is a live show fans both old and new won't want to miss.
5. The atmosphere
The stage alone sets the tone for the evening, with a set piece of a cozy house and McMahon's piano situated in the middle. McMahon enters to the theme from "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood," complete with a cardigan and change of shoes, and his friends--musicians Zac Clark, Allen Stone, and Bob Oxblood--come and go throughout, both playing and singing along with McMahon and spending some time playing their own music. The entire format makes for an intimate evening packed with great music, with a few lighthearted, comedic moments along the way.
4. The energy
One doesn't expect a concert set in a home with an "evening with" setup to have moments of high energy, but McMahon manages it. For many of us, music--live music especially--is a thrilling experience, and it's even more fun when that excitement comes through in the performance, as well. The piano may be a stationary instrument, not offering the freedom to move around the stage the way an electric guitar does, but the way McMahon uses it is anything but, especially as the night moves on. He alternates singing with two microphones, and he'll frequently stand at his piano while he pounds away at the keys.
3. The friends
With no opening act, the concert kicks off immediately with McMahon, and while Clark, Stone, and Oxblood pop in and out, they're not there solely to serve as backing musicians to McMahon. Each gets his own moment in the spotlight, and each impresses with wonderful songs and talent to please existing fans and win over plenty of new ones. And just as you'd expect from friends bonded through music, their camaraderie is palpable.
2. The set
With multiple musical projects and even more albums covering a span of 20 years, McMahon has plenty of songs to choose from, and he makes great use of plenty of them in his set. Something Corporate fans will be thrilled to hear gems like "Punk Rock Princess" and "I Woke Up in a Car," while Jack's Mannequin favorites like "La La Lie" and "Bruised" are also included. Of course, McMahon also plays plenty of more recent solo songs, including "Fire Escape," "Walking My Sleep," "Cecilia and the Satellite," and plenty more. And with so much music, McMahon not only has a lot to choose from, but he can deliver a long show--it lasts a solid three hours, but it never feels too long.
1. The songs reimagined
Although McMahon delves deep into his catalog, many of the songs--particularly from Something Corporate and Jack's Mannequin--are rearranged for this tour. They're softer and more stripped down, devoid of things like electric guitars and drums, and some are vastly different than their recorded versions. "Punk Rock Princess" is a slower, piano-driven ballad featuring an accordion, while "Bruised" has a beautiful twinkling piano and acoustic guitar and "Holiday from Real" has lovely moments of a cappella vocals.
McMahon and friends still have a few dates on their schedule this spring. Be sure to catch the unique tour while you can, and tickets for select shows are available right here on AXS.