Concert Review: Andrew McMahon


No stranger to performing in Milwaukee, Andrew McMahon put on a memorable show April 2 at Turner Hall.

The lead singer and mastermind behind the early 2000s Southern California pop/punk band Something Corporate and the piano rock band Jack’s Mannequin is touring under his own name for the first time in his 15-year career. Fans of those previous projects were in for a treat, because this tour is the first time McMahon has been able to construct a set list by pulling from his entire discography.

McMahon was joined on stage by some familiar faces along with some new ones. Mikey “the kid” Wagner on bass and Jay McMillan on drums played with Andrew previously in Jack’s Mannequin. Joe Ballaro and Jeremy Thatcher on guitar, along with Zac Clark on keys, rounded out the group of newcomers.

Commentary by Staff Writer Christina Curtin

Starting out the night was the band ERLAND of Santa Barbara. The group’s cool folk/pop tunes set the stage for the second opener of the night, Barcelona.

Barcelona filled out its set with the majority of new material from its yet to be released album, plus a rather incredible cover of Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car.”

As McMahon took the stage, the crowd erupted in applause. He smoothly started playing an extended intro to the quiet tune “Walking By” from Something Corporate’s debut EP, “Audioboxer.”

Showing his extreme lyrical diversity and stage presence, he transitioned into “The Mixed Tape,” the first single off of Jack’s Mannequin’s debut album. Starting out the song with his signature enthusiasm, he jumped on top of his Baby Grand piano and led the crowd in a rousing sing-along.

During the show, McMahon let fans in on the secret — albeit two days before the actual announcement – that he is coming back to Summerfest this year. He accepted “beers for the band” before introducing “Learn to Dance,” one of the new songs from his upcoming EP “The Pop Underground,” due out April 30. It was a dance tune with crowd participation.

McMahon kept the crowd connected by throwing in fan favorites “Swim” and “Punk Rock Princess,” along with “Synesthesia,” a synth heavy new track. It’s sure to be a hit amongst long-time fans and those who are discovering his music for the first time. Judging by the crowd reaction, I would say McMahon has himself a winner.

Closing out his set with what he called “a song about good friends,” McMahon introduced his band before jumping into “La La Lie” with his typical enthusiasm and underappreciated harmonica prowess.

As the roars of the crowd finally died down, the chant for the cult classic that has followed McMahon throughout his career inevitably began. People yelled out “Konstantine! Konstantine! Konstantine!” Happy to oblige, McMahon retook the stage to sing the nine minute and 37 second monster of an apology that is “Konstantine.”

Ending the show in true McMahon fashion, he busted out “Dark Blue,” one of the most popular songs in his catalog. As always, McMahon brought out all of the stops for this immensely enjoyable show, and he is sure to continue drawing big crowds at his concerts for years to come.

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