When Andrew McMahon formerly the head man of Something Corporate and then Jack’s Mannequin, disbanded the latter, I was disappointed, but not totally distraught. I had already wondered if his best music was behind him (and knew it wouldn’t be the end of him making music). Jack’s Mannequin’s most recent album (People and Things), although enjoyable, didn’t hold a candle to their debut masterpiece (Everything in Transit).
When I saw he would be playing in Asheville, where I would already be spending the weekend visiting my childhood best friend, I figured I’d get there a little earlier than planned and fit the show into the itinerary. McMahon had promised (via Facebook) that he would play songs from Something Corporate and Jack’s Mannequin–two of my favorite bands–in addition to his newer solo work, which I was less excited about.
Andrew McMahon plays Dark Blue, a track by his second band, Jack’s Mannequin, at the Orange Peel in Asheville, NC. (7/12/2013)
He didn’t lie. He played a great mix of older songs, starting with “Mixed Tape“ and “Punk Rock Princess“ and closing with “Dark Blue“ before returning to play “Konstantine“ and “La La Lie” for the encore.
As some musicians do, he often gave a bit of background to songs before beginning. He gave such an introduction for “Swim,” a Jack’s Mannequin track from The Glass Passenger. He explained that it was written in reference to the most challenging time in life–his battle with leukemia. With just a bit of background info, the lyrics are so much more powerful. I wish more bands would do this, especially considering concerts are generally packed with hard-core fans.
I was pleasantly surprised by how many older songs he played (I suppose it was obvious given the brevity his new EP, The Pop Underground). I was also impressed with the quality of his newer work. It’s not that I thought he would produce garbage, but I figured it would be another album of decline. Conversely, he has seemed to bounce back (again, People and Things had some excellent songs, but wasn’t an excellent album. Full review here).
“Synesthesia” (below) the most popular track off the EP, introduces some electronic sounds that may be unfamiliar his long-time fans, but it works and is a great track. “Catching Cold“ and “Learn to Dance” (the other solo tracks he played live) also bring that element. “Learn to Dance“ stood out to me as an especially good song. Now I’m looking forward to a full solo album.
If you’re a fan of Something Corporate, this may be your last chance to hear their songs live. I’d already lamented that I would never hear some of their best songs, but I lucked out. He is headlining in Jacksonville, FL (7/19/2013) and Bethlehem, PA (7/23/2013) and he has quite a few shows as an opener for OAR. I highly recommend you catch a show (one is at the Tabernacle in Atlanta).
If you enjoyed this post, please click the Facebook “Like” button on the right sidebar. You can share your opinions in the comment section below or by tweeting to @Ryan_Kantor. Thanks for reading!