I’ve been a massive fan of Andrew McMahon for longer than I’d like to remember. From first hearing Something Corporate in maybe 2002, through Jack’s Mannequin and now as Andrew McMahon In The Wilderness. His music and lyrics seem to touch a place in my mind that few other musicians can hit and to top it all off he’s a bloody nice guy. I can prove this too, I’ll be posting my interview with him as soon as I’ve had a chance to edit the video. Anyway, on Saturday I toddled across to Islington Assembly Hall to catch the last night of his solo UK tour* and I was not disappointed.
With more than half an hour until doors open for the final, sold out night of his uk tour, there is already a queue that snakes down the street and I can tell you it is not a warm or dry night in London Town. Andrew McMahon’s fans are nothing if not loyal.
When support act, Sykes, take the stage the venue is already nearly full. The audience is really paying attention too with general chatter down to an absolute minimum. This is the three piece’s first proper tour and they seem to sit with McMahon’s fans well. They’re picking up more and more attention, and deservedly so, I’d definitely recommend checking them out when you can.
You can almost hear a pin drop as McMahon takes to the stage and he holds the entire audience in the palm of his hand. It’s amazing how one man and his piano can touch the hearts and minds of the whole crowd at once and in that moment right there it is almost as if they all share the same brain. He walks to the front of the stage and introduces himself and his piano through a series of signs to rapturous applause.
Kicking things off with High Dive from his new album, you could be forgiven for thinking that this would be where his main focus for the set list would lie. You’d be wrong though. He seamlessly flowed between songs from all of his projects. Jack’s Mannequin songs certainly seemed to be the crowds favourite though as they provoked the most singing along.
Just as I noticed that I wasn’t watching McMahon’s performance through a sea of tiny screens and that there were hardly any cameras and phones in the air at all. Andrew stopped mid-story to call someone on the front row out for talking on their phone. I have to admit it was pretty funny and I hope they felt suitably embarrassed. Even though he did apologise for drawing the crowd’s attention to it!
Even though the venue is a considerable size, Andrew McMahon’s way with the audience his funny stories between and about his songs make you feel right at home. Like you could be sat in his house with him just hanging out. I’ve seen very few acts have this rapport with the audience and as was proved by the lack of screens the whole crowd was totally present in that moment. A definite feat in this day and age.
It was lots of fun to revisit Something Corporate hit, If You C Jordan and the crowd really got behind the sing along. Rounding his set off with new single, Cecilia and the Satellite drew a perfect line under the whole journey we’d been through.
Refusing to leave the stage before his encore for fear of looking like an “asshole” (something I am pretty certain he could never do!) he chatted a little bit about his foundation, Dear Jack, and the good work they’ve been doing before rounding the night off with Swim and La La Lie.
All in all an incredible night and an incredible artist. Andrew McMahon is high on my list of favourites and will remain to be for sometime after this.