Local boy Andrew W.K.’s Saturday evening show at St. Andrew’s
Hall may have been the first of his world tour, but he played like
it was his last. Andrew is always excited, but on this night he
gave his hometown crowd something extra (if that’s possible).
A.W.K. took the stage with a massive grin that stayed on his
face throughout the entire performance. The festivities began with
the explosive “It’s Time to Party,” and Andrew entered a frenzy,
dancing maniacally, pounding his keyboard (and skull) with abandon
and screaming his bloody lungs out. And since his other tunes sound
essentially the same (in a good way), the party didn’t slow down
for a second.
The mood was festive; Andrew instructed the audience to act like
it was “your birthday, Christmas, the 4th of July, Hanukkah,
Kwanzaa and Halloween” all in one. This they did, forming circle
pits and remaining positive amidst the chaos.
The entire band was in fine form. Impressively, they recreated
the dense sound of A.W.K.’s records; three band members and the
entire crowd provided backup vocals on old favorites like “Ready to
Die” and “Party ’til You Puke.”
New songs “Victory Strikes Again” and “Tear It Up” from their
new album The Wolf met with a less enthusiastic response,
partly since they’re not as aggressive as the I Get Wet
material, but mostly because fans don’t yet have the new record.
However, the band’s great performance of new single “Never Let
Down,” a gigantic power ballad and instant A.W.K. classic, was
quite well received. Andrew actually kept his feet planted during
the tune and did his best singing of the night.
The energy immediately returned to fever pitch, and with “We
Want Fun,” the show’s 30-minute climax began. During the song, fans
rushed and quickly saturated the stage while the band, bewildered,
somehow finished the song. Andrew loved every second, shouting
thought-provoking expressions like “Awesome!” and “Oh my gosh!”
Security eventually cleared the stage, but not before W.K. gave
hugs to most of the stage-dwelling fans.
Band and audience became one, meeting Andrew’s lofty ambitions,
but the show wasn’t over yet. Rather than do the planned encore
routine, W.K. stayed on stage and advised the crowd to “catch …
your … breath.”
While they did, Andrew took a closer look at the audience,
reveling in the many familiar faces. After all, it was the hometown
show; even W.K.’s parents could be seen in the balcony.
Not surprisingly, the break didn’t last long. The crowd somehow
managed to top themselves late in the show, singing louder than
ever and forming the biggest circle pit St. Andrew’s has yet seen
during the hit “She is Beautiful.”
Unbelievably, the show had not yet reached its peak, which came
during “Party Hard.” Fans were waved back onstage and wasted no
time returning to W.K.’s side. Microphones and instruments were
nearly destroyed, and W.K. shared the mic with a handful of crazed
fans. This time, though, the band was ready; they stood their
ground and nailed the song in all of its brutish glory. One of the
band’s three guitarists scaled a large speaker mid-song, playing
there and giving the gig a “best house party ever” vibe.
Upon the end of “Party Hard,” Andrew appeared exhausted and had
to be propped up by fans who had not yet left the stage. Of course,
he was far from tired. After the stage was once again cleared, the
band jumped headlong into “I Get Wet,” the final song of the night.
W.K. screamed, hit himself, walked into walls and danced with
Once the final power chords had been struck, Andrew took a few
slow steps back into the stage, put down his mic, leaped into a
sprint and pulled off an impressive and gutsy stagedive. Then,
after some more frantic dancing, Andrew left the crowd wasted and
thoroughly satisfied. He departed with these words of wisdom: “Long
live life!” Truly inspirational.
St. Andrew’s Hall is aptly named, because on Saturday night,
Andrew W.K. owned the place.
– Check Tuesday’s edition of The Michigan Daily for a review of
the new Andrew W.K. album The Wolf.