Live Review: Andrew McMahon In The Wilderness, Islington Assembly Hall

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.

Andrew McMahon

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.



Taking Stock – February

Bloody hell, I’m sure I say this at the end of every month but where has the time gone? It feels like only a couple of days ago that I was writing January’s Taking Stock post. As quickly as the time is going I’m glad it is though. I can’t wait for the weather to be a bit better. I don’t know about you but I am totally bored of all the layers now. I’d like to feel warm again please!

Taking Stock February

Making: lists and plans. I’ve felt a bit scattered recently so I’ve started writing everything down again and I’m starting to feel a bit better.

Cooking: Not a lot really. I’ve been wiped out quite a lot this past month so Tom has been in charge of the cooking. I need to buck my ideas up and get back in the kitchen I think.

Drinking: all of the coffee. I’ve not really been sleeping properly so I’ve been mainlining caffeine where possible.

Reading: I’ve finally finished We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves and I’m about to start The Big Lie: Motherhood, Feminism, and the Reality of the Biological Clock fun, right?

Wanting: to hibernate for a little while. I’d love to catch up on sleep and get my head together.

Looking: forward to warmer weather.

Playing: Andrew McMahon’s entire back catalogue. I’m going to see him on Saturday and I’m pretty excited.

Deciding: that I should probably expand the colours in my wardrobe away from black and white.

Wishing: that I could keep my fringe line straight. It’s really annoying me.

Enjoying: a quiet weekend at home. I went back to Liverpool and just spent it with my parents and dog for a change. It was nice.

Waiting: for the blue to grow out of my hair and stop turning my hair green!

Liking: My new shorter fringe.

Wondering: what to do next.

Loving: planning a few outings soon. I’ve been really boring and staying in recently. Life is what happens when you go outside right?

Pondering: quite a lot of things that I’m not entirely ready to talk about with anyone yet. (Ooooh mysterious! I don’t mean to be, I just need to get them straight in my head before I can communicate them to anyone!)

Considering: signing up for a course but not knowing what in.

Watching: loads of Netflix, mostly Community
and Skins. I bloody love Community and I’ve successfully convinced Tom it’s ace too. I never watched Skins while it was on TV so I’m giving it a go all these years later. I’m actually enjoying it too.

Hoping: that I can get some wheels in motion in the plans I want to make.

Marvelling: at the self-confidence other people show. I’m feeling a bit nervous about myself and things at the minute.

Needing: a nap!

Smelling: of Chloe. I love it.

Wearing: all of the black.

Following: some of the lovely bloggers I met last week – Little Miss Winney, Georgina Does and A Typical Girl.

Noticing: that everything I want to do seems to be coinciding with each other!

Knowing: that things are getting better.

Thinking: about the future.

Admiring: all of the girl bosses.

Sorting: out my life.

Buying: more black things. I really need to get a grip.

Getting: annoyed with myself for putting imaginary barriers in my way.

Bookmarking: coats. I’m a bit obsessed at the minute.

Disliking: myself for being a bit of a dick. Not to other people, well not so much, more to myself.

Opening: a new chapter.

Giggling: at me being so bloody melodramatic above!

Feeling: so sleepy, I only had about three hours sleep last night.

Snacking: not as much. Especially since I’ve given up chocolate and bread for Lent.

Coveting: This Danielle Guizio duffel bag. I adore it.

Wishing: that I could win the lottery. I’d really like to buy a house.

Hearing: a lot of advice and working out which to take.

Gosh, I’m a moany cow this month aren’t I? Sorry about that. I don’t know what came over me. Hopefully next month I’ll be happier and less miserable.



Do I need a separate night cream?

I don’t use night cream, in fact, I haven’t had a proper beauty routine ever. I know, I know, it’s awful isn’t it? I’ll never be a beauty blogger when sometimes all my skin care routine consists of is a rub of a wipe across my face to get rid of my make up at the end of the day. Horrendous, right? It’s just so easy though. Especially if I’ve been out.

As I’ve mentioned before, as I get older I’m starting to care more about my skin. I know I should have probably been paying attention to it for a while now but hopefully it’s not too late and I’m not going to start looking too haggard soon.

do i need night cream

So, as well as drinking the recommended two litres of water a day I’ve been trying to get myself into a proper morning and evening skin care routine and stepping away from the face wipes (well, except for in an emergency.)

My search is on for my ideal cleanser and I still can’t find an exfoliating face scrub that really makes me feel clean. As well as that I’ve been giving the Narynda Night Cream* a try. The cream contains oat oil and is rich in Linolein acid, antioxidants and saponins. This is supposed to maintain moisture, reduce redness, soothe the skin and reduce inflammation. On top of all that the peptides in the oat oil help to promote collagen production and reduce fine lines and wrinkles and maintain skin elasticity. All sounds bloody marvellous, right? I can’t say if it reduced my wrinkles but I can definitely confirm that it soothed my skin.

It was really think and felt quite luxurious when I smoothed it on. It sank into my skin quickly and didn’t feel greasy at all. I liked the smell even though it was quite oaty and I didn’t really need to use very much at all to cover my entire face and neck.

I’m still not entirely sure if I need a separate day and night cream or if one cream, twice a day will do but I do enjoy the process of smothering myself in moisturiser at night before bed. As well as the benefits for my skin it’s calming and soothing as I settle down to sleep. The Narynda Skin Care night cream is really nice and for £17.50 for 50ml it won’t break the bank. Maybe I should just stick with this one.

Have you used any Narynda products? Do you have a recommendation for a night cream? Do I even need a separate one? I’d love to hear your thoughts.