Andrew W.K./The Evaporators @ The Showbox, 03.05.12
"Oh, he's very popular. The sportos, the motorheads, geeks, sluts, bloods, waistoids, dweebs...they all adore him. They think he's a righteous dude." - Grace the secretary, Ferris Bueller's Day Off.
If there's anyone on Earth today who embodies the "live in the moment" mentality of fun-loving pied piper Ferris Bueller, it's Andrew Wilkes Krier. Existing as one of those "so simple it's brilliant" things in life, Andrew W.K. is here to party, have fun, get wet, get wasted, and you truly have no choice as to whether you'll join this train or not.
Touring on the ten year anniversary of his breakthrough album (I Get Wet), W.K. played the album front to back to an audience whose reactions could only be described as "W.K.-ian". You've seen audiences go nuts, and then you've seen audiences whipped into a frothing-at-the-mouth frenzy by Andrew W.K.
From the first note of "It's Time To Party", the Showbox floor was bouncing with jumping bodies ricocheting against each other. Sure, that happens at a lot of shows, right? What's notable for this (and any Andrew W.K. show) is that energy level from band and crowd alike was maintained for the entirety of the 90 minute set. Unrelenting energy snowballs through any room Andrew W.K. performs in; W.K. balances between serious metal showman and grinning, goofy ringleader, all the while making sure his party platform is understood without question. W.K.'s "live in the moment and enjoy it" mantra may seem trite to some, but with an 8 piece band building an airplane roar of pop metal backing up that message, even the most stubborn arm-crosser in the back can't help but put their phones back in their pockets and find themselves wanting to join the fray. Even sitting by a group of "should've known better" 30-somethings that were in obnoxious "we've been drinking all MONTH" trainwreck shape, W.K.'s party-line optimism shot lazer beams in any ballooning aggravation I was feeling toward my eventually 86'ed neighbors.
Whatever the story is with the origin of Andrew W.K. (feel free to Google "Steev Mike" if you ever want to fall down a soap opera-y internet wormhole that you won't find your way out of anytime soon), Wilkes-Krier has taken on some oddball projects (motivational speaking, avant-garde musical projects like his improv piano record, involvement with various noise bands and recently producing dub reggae legend Lee "Scratch" Perry), majorly commercial projects (shows on MTV andCartoon Network) and has developed Andrew W.K. into a brilliant project that balances a low-brow neverending party mantra with a well-spoken, borderline self-help routine for the Hot Topic generation.
Critically, W.K. has some shortcomings; if you're not in the right mood, his catalog can tend to run together into a dizzying wall of indistinguishable guitars (having 4 guitarists on stage at one time will do that for you), and the non-stop "get up and party" line can probably grate on pessimistic nerves (not that Seattle has any of those). However, for as hamfistedly simple as his music and message may be, W.K. delivers it with more genuine conviction than even the most somber, sensitive folk singer's painfully intimate moments. Without so much as a wink, W.K. spends an hour and a half each night pumping his fists (alongside his fitness instructor wife Cherie Lily), swiveling robotically and banging his head to a dense mush of pop-metal and orchestrating large groups of eager believers to new heights of provocation.
Vancouver's The Evaporators opened the show, and couldn't have been a more perfect fit with W.K.'s party line. Fronted by longstanding ultimate music geekNardwuar The Human Serviette (and including New Pornographers drummer Kurt Dahle and guitarist John Collins), the band played a healthy set that mostly involved Nardwuar changing costumes, surfing over the audience while playing a keyboard, and getting everyone in the audience to crouch for long periods of time, only to spring back to life when the music exploded. In fitness terms, it was the stretching out period before W.K.'s aerobic blast.
The Crowd: Pretty much anyone you can imagine, all having a fun time together (see above Ferris Bueller quote). How someone can get that many different groups of people together, promote them to party til they puke, and not have so much as a single fight break out is beyond me. This is the magic of Andrew W.K.
Overheard In The Crowd: "Get up front. Fuckin' FEEL IT!" - Dudes behind me that eventually got kicked out for partying a little TOO hard.
Reviewer's Bias: I've always been a proponent of using "party" as a noun and not a verb, but Andrew W.K. gets my thumbs up anytime he uses the word.
Random Notebook Dump: Andrew W.K.'s drummer had three kick drums. THREE. Unless he has a third foot, my mind is boggled.
Andrew W.K. Set List
- It's Time To Party
- Party Hard
- Girls Own Love
- Ready To Die
- Take It Off
- I Love NYC (Seattle Edition)
- She Is Beautiful
- Party Til You Puke
- Fun Night
- Got To Do It
- I Get Wet
- Don't Stop Living In The Red
- We Want Fun
- Never Let Down
- Totally Stupid
- You Will Remember Tonight
- The Moving Room
- (New Thrash Instrumental)