Andrew McMahon – “You’ve gotta swim, swim for your life, swim for the music that saves you when you’re not so sure you’ll survive”: The UC Theatre in Berkeley (May 6, 2017)

Written by Erica Andreozzi

 

Seeing Andrew McMahon for the first time last Saturday (UC Theatre Berkeley) had me come away with newfound respect for him as an artist, but most importantly, and as a HERO. I was not aware that Andrew had been diagnosed with leukemia 11 years ago and is alive today because of a successful stem cell transplant many are not fortunate enough to receive (“We are the fortunate ones”Lottery Ticket). With a steadfast vision to give back, Andrew started a foundation called Dear Jack that supports young adult/adolescent patients in their battle against cancer. In fact, $0.50 of all ticket sales for his current ‘Zombies on Broadway’ tour go toward saving lives (literally) and helping patients find a stem cell match. Andrew’s new album was as means for him to find closure in the city (New York) where he was first diagnosed with cancer (on tour with Jack’s Mannequin). Cancer-free and ready to face those haunting curiosities, Andrew returned to NYC a decade later to record “Zombies on Broadway“:

“I wrote this album in the middle of a whirlwind, when the future was unclear. Isn’t it always? I found my way to the city, thinking I could settle a score with a ghost. You can’t, so I came home and rewrote the ending. I’m proud announce my new album, “Zombies on Broadway,” is coming on February 10th. I spent more than a year hoping to find new answers to old questions. What I found; I have always been two people; One in search of peace and the other in search of whatever makes my hair stand up and my heart beat faster. This record is mostly about the latter.”

He said that that name is inspired by the constant sea of tourists (“zombies”) that he had to wade through everyday in his recording studio on Broadway. He expressed a fondness for this “city that never sleeps,” but also an undeniable love/hate relationship reflecting the extremes it would take him to. This passion and angst can be felt in the track, ‘Brooklyn you’re killing me,’ which ironically was the only track on the album that was NOT recorded in Brooklyn (but instead at his home in Southern California). He had Keith Jeffrey of Atlas Genius join him on stage to belt out this beast. What a rush to be seeing along with the chorus! Nevertheless, Andrew redeems his love for NYC with his catchiest track on the album, Fire Escape: “There’s a million city lights but you’re number one.”

After being away on the road for 2 months, Andrew addressed his comfort in being “back in California,” the place that will always be “home.” He also mentioned having a special connection to UC Berkeley because Something Corporate (his first band) played for the UCB prom back in the day. In honor of that memory, Andrew treated us to a special Something Corporate throwback, ‘Woke up in car,’ and you better believe the whole crowd jumping up and down.

He also treated us to two Jacks Mannequin throwbacks, ‘Dark Blue‘ and ‘Swim.’ ‘Dark Blue‘ had tons of fan shrieking in hysteria, and I even caught a glimpse of a girl with tears running down her cheeks. For fans that have been with him since the very beginning, these old killers definitely slay. ‘Swim‘ was even more emotional, for Andrew said it was written about his friend who, like him, was “put through the ringer” with a battle against cancer:

“You’ve gotta swim
Swim for your life
Swim for the music
That saves you
When you’re not so sure you’ll survive”

This song proves that willpower to continue doing what you love is enough to fight all odds. For someone whose life could have been taken away from him 11 years ago, Andrew exemplifies what it means to be LIVING LIFE TO THE FULLEST and embracing every moment on earth DOING WHAT YOU LOVE. Making music is what he STAYED ALIVE FOR, and that could not be more apparent in the way he threw himself into his piano as if it was his lifeline. His endless energy, magnetic delivery, and expressive eyes (one that remind me of Ritzy from the Joy Formidable) is something you have to just see for yourself. Not only did he shoot like a cannon (glad he played Canyon Moon) into the crowd 3 times (once on a GIANT DUCK float and another on a GOLDEN DRAGON float), but he ran around stage several times, jumped off his piano like a kid on a playground. He also stomped on his piano keys, something I have never even seen the great Billy Joel (who Andrew actually played with on April 28th) do. It was obvious that there is NOWHERE ELSE Andrew would rather be, and he voiced this appreciation to his fans all night: “Thank you for choosing to spend your Saturday night with me.”

He followed up this appreciation with a glorious shout-out to music as the common denominator binding strangers together:  “In a world of things that alot of people don’t agree on right now, is that we like to dance… and we like a little bit of music on our Saturday. You are standing probably shoulder-to-shoulder with a group of strangers.. we agree on one thing, we love music… I thought maybe be could have one of these perfect moments tonight under the parachute together.”  A perfect moment indeed, a moment that we have when “We surrender to a night of music together… that’s the show… that’s the magic.” ❤
So much of this night did indeed felt like magic, and unexpected teasers like Andrew’s cover of Bruce Springsteen‘s ‘I’m on Fire‘ (with Matt of Night Riots) had us levitating off the ground. The song that then kept us there was the epic encore of ‘Cecilia And The Satellite‘:
“If I could fly, then I would know
What life looks like from up above and down below
I’d keep you safe, I’d keep you dry
Don’t be afraid, Cecilia, I’m the satellite
And you’re the sky
..
For all the things my hands have held, the best by far is you.”

Despite having flown all over the globe for 16 years (>200 days a year) on world tours, Andrew’s continues to have his WINGS IN FLIGHT. Who knows where he will land next. 😀

 

*Check out full videos from the night on my YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/eandreoz

Instagram: beatsthatsetmypulse
Twitter: @beatsthatsetmy

 

***

p.s. I was a bit bummed that he didn’t play ‘Maps for the Getaway,’ as this is one of my favorites from the new album and such a PERFECT road trip songs:

“No cash in the bank, no paid holidays
All we have, all we have is
Gas in the tank, maps for the getaway
All we have, all we have is time”  (YAAAAAS)

BUT, hopefully at the Mountain Winery on July 1. Hope to catch him again there!

Night Riots – “They will try but they will never break who you are. There is us, we are one, as the whole world falls apart”: The UC Theatre in Berkeley (May 6, 2017)

Written by Erica Andreozzi

I knew after first discovering Night Riots at the Rickshaw Stop‘s Popscene presents back in October that it was only a matter of time before they would be rioting the stage with big acts. I recall mentioning this to their guitarist Matt (who would be playing an ‘I’m on Fire‘ cover with Andrew McMahon last night). Fast forward a few months and they be on tour with both Atlas Genius and Andrew McMahon and the Wilderness. They also recently played alongside two other bands who I love, Wild Cub and Unknown Mortal Orchestra . With a sound (especially lead vocals) reminiscent of The Killers and siiiick drum trick skits reminiscent of Nothing More, I was pretty freaking blown away. Their hit song ‘Contagious’ is, you guessed it- CONTAGIOUS, and their highly energetic, enthusiastic stage presence (Matt playing guitar behind his back and Travis jumping on top of the drum set) follows suit. Check them out at The Fillmore tonight! @blncdbrkfst @onestowatch @thebaybridged #nightriots #uctheatreberkeley #andrewmcmahoninthewilderness #musicforthemasses #bandontherise

 

*Check out full videos from the night on my YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/eandreoz

Instagram: beatsthatsetmypulse
Twitter: @beatsthatsetmy

 

Atlas Genius – “You spin me right round baby right round, like a record baby”: The UC Theatre in Berkeley (May 6, 2017)

Written by Erica Andreozzi


CRAZY ODDS to think that I was huddled between brothers Keith and Mike Jeffery of Atlas Genius EXACTLY 4 years ago when I saw them on May 7 at Electrowerz in London. They were as just as kickass as I remember, pumping up the crowd with older (If So, Backseat, When it Was Now) and newer (Stone mill, Stockholm, Where I belong), as well as a super sick cover of ‘You Spin Me Round (Like a Record).’ A few if Mike’s guitar parts remind me a bit of Foals , which is ALWAYS a good thing (love that band). And if Mike’s climbing into the crowd didn’t already have the crowd jumping for joy, he made of it later when asking everyone to crouch down and jump up in unison. The peak participation was of course at the very end with their epic encore of Trojans, the track that sparked their global success. Now most people can get enough of those “Trojans in my head.” 😀 So glad to have caught them on tour with the INCREDIBLE Andrew McMahon and the Wilderness last night at UC Theatre In Berkeley! They play the @thefillmore tonight in SF – not to be missed! @blncdbrkfst @apeconcerts @wbr #atlasgenius #andrewmcmahoninthewilderness #wildernesstour #uctheaterberkeley #meetingtheband #musicforthemasses #nootherkindofhigh

 

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*Check out full videos from the night on my YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/eandreoz

Instagram: beatsthatsetmypulse
Twitter: @beatsthatsetmy

 

I Want It All (Playlist: Feb 12, 2017)

I Want It All
Compiled Feb 12, 2017

The title of my first playlist of the new year is ‘I Want It All,’ (very fitting, I know) an AWESOME NEW TRACK that Mike Deni of Geographer first rolled out to us at The Rickshaw Stop a few weeks ago: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pQzUd9qJ2Zo. This playlist was inspired by past shows: Geographer, Bear’s DenLord Huron, Kyle Morton of Typhoon (who I had waited 6 years to see live),Mogwai, Anthony D’Amato, Valley Maker and upcoming shows: Tash Sultana (BEEN WAITING 6 MONTHS FOR THIS!), The Staves (have wanted to see these SISTER SIRENS in concert for YEARS!), and Bastille. It also includes awesome new tracks by Laura Marling (arguably one of the most impressive and vocally challenging gem in her collection — SLAYED when she shared it with California for the first time at Sweetwater Music Hall in Mill Valley: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6HufiX1j3X8), Geographer, Bear’s Den, Lord Huron, Amber Run, Asgeir (SO GLAD HE IS BACK – one of my FAVORITE ICELANDIC ARTISTS!), Tow’rs (excited for their third album!), Mogwai (the artistic arsenal of their new album, Atomic, detonates an explosion in our brains – a radioactive realization about the heinous impact of chemical warfare), Milky Chance, and Radical Face. Last by not least, it features new discoveries that I am glad to have pocketed: Cloves, Doncat (guitarist of Geographer), Andrew McMahon In The Wilderness , LANY, Lewis Del Mar, Guthrie Brown, Ron Gallo, Branches, Lisa Hannigan, The Midwest Indies, and Andy Chew. Pleased to post this before a whole NEW SLEW of BANDS at NoisePop music fest in SF next week! CAN’T WAIT!  😀

(In order to access the playlist, you have to press the 3 vertical dots in the upper right hand corner and select download. You can then cancel the download immediately and still have access to the playlist. If you are still having uses, let me know and I can send you a link to download the tracks!)

I Want It All- Geographer
Berlin- Bear’s Den
Wild Fire- Laura Marling
Fool For Love- Lord Huron
Don’t Wanna Fight- Amber Run
Fire Escape- Andrew McMahon In The Wilderness
Pink Skies- LANY
Western- DonCat
My Little Darlin Knows My Nature- Kyle Morton
Lonesome Dreams- Lord Huron
Frail Love- Cloves
Painting (Masterpiece)- Lewis Del Mar
Love Like Ghosts- Lord Huron
Auld Lang Syne- Tow’rs
Cocoon- Milky Chance
If You’re Gonna Build A Wall – Anthony D’Amato
Meet Me In The Woods- Lord Huron
Don’t Forget About Me- Cloves
Lottery Ticket- Andrew Mcmahon In The Wilderness
Moonn- Radical Face
The Night We Met- Lord Huron
Day To Day- Guthrie Brown
Driving Through A Dream- Andrew McMahon In The Wilderness
Ether- Mogwai
Good Grief- Bastille
Kill the Medicine Man-  Ron Gallo
Maps For The Getaway- Andrew Mcmahon In The Wilderness
Outlaw- The Staves
Dark Fores- Andy Chew
Oh My Goodness – Anthony D’Amato
Stay Gold- Guthrie Brown
Survivalist Fantasy- Kyle Morton
Send Them Off!- Bastille
By My Side- Valley Maker
Canyon Moon  – Andrew Mcmahon In The Wilderness
Authority (Live)- Tash Sultana
Sleeping In A Car- The Staves
Unbound- Asgeir
The “S” That Stood for Nothing- The Midwest Indies
Tomorrow- Branches
La Belle Fleur Sauvage- Lord Huron
Young Lady, You’re Scaring Me- Ron Gallo
Snow- Lisa Hannigan