Andrew McMahon, the voice and piano behind Jack's Mannequin and Something Corporate decided to head out on a solo tour. For his fans though, this really meant it would be a night of songs from both bands. A treat since Andrew hasn't really played any Something Corporate since forming Jack's Mannequin. On Friday, 4/12, his tour came to Brooklyn and I was there.
The lovely Kate Earl opened this show. I had never heard of her but I was immediately drawn to her, as were the rest of the crowd.
Hailing from Chugiak, Alaksa, she reminded me a lot of Ingrid Michaelson and Sara Bareilles, which is not a bad list to be on. In between songs, she was charming and a little awkward, which made her even more endearing. She shared a little story before each song, and we were able to see a bit of what brought her to where she was. From her time opening for Maroon 5 to being a single mother. Her songs were fantastic, and they sounded really full even though it was only her, one backup singer, one acoustic guitar and a bit of drums. They all played together wonderfully. They even included a fantastic Black Keys cover into their set.
Next up was Erland Wanberg and his band. Acoustic guitar driven, Erland played songs that sounded like California. At some point in the show Erland told us that McMahon was his brother in law and helped write and produce his songs. The songs are well written and the band really sounds great together.
Shortly after they left the stage hands started getting everything ready for Andrew and his band. They rolled his huge piano into the center of the stage and everyone in Brooklyn went nuts. The Warsaw doesn't have a photo pit, so from where I was standing I knew I would be able to get great shots of Andrew, but not really any of the rest of the band. I couldn't move around freely and the piano was 2 feet in front of me. But I figured, if I could only really shoot one member on stage, at least I got Andrew.
Andrew took the stage a short time later and the energy in that small room went up another notch. He sat down at the piano and played a sparse, beautiful version of Walking By. It was a delicate and fantastic version of this Something Corporate song. Te rest of the band took the stage, Andrew stood on the piano, they launched into the crowd favorite The Mixed Tape, and it felt like the show was really off and running.
The set list was 19 songs deep and it was a pretty even mix of Something Corporate and Jack's Mannequin with a couple new solo songs thrown in. They played everything you hoped they would play: Swim, Punk Rock Princess, Bruised, Holiday From Real, I Woke Up In a Car, Watch the Sky...every song sounded incredible. The energy was high. Andrew spent a lot of time at the piano, but he also made sure to not be tied down to it. He came out to the edge of the stage many times, singing his heart out with everyone else in the room.
After 17 songs everyone left the stage but Andrew returned about two minutes later. He talked about how much he was hoping that everyone would chant for more music so he could come back out and play. Then he finished off the night with two of the biggest songs of his career, the song everyone was holding their breath for, Konstatine, solo, and then Dark Blue. It was a perfect way to end the night.
Officially, Andrew McMahon has retired both Something Corporate and Jack's Mannequin, but that certainly doesn't mean he is slowing down at all. If anything, shedding those names has released him from the pressure of doing what you might expect. He is really free to play and sound however he wants.