Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness Get Turnt On Cinco de Mayo
Andrew McMahon knows how to entertain. He’s been doing it for so long, it comes naturally. He’s charming, funny, witty, and the guy can sing his heart out. He’s been writing songs that have been the soundtrack to people’s lives for nearly two decades and he hasn’t missed a beat during that span.
What’s even more impressive than his ability to perform and entertain, is the fact that he’s started from scratch with three different projects and has been able to catapult them all to success. From his days as the punk-rock frontman in Something Corporate to the undeniably catchy Jack’s Mannequin, and most recently with Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, he has proven time and again his ability to reinvent his music and still be welcomed with a warming embrace of fans.
On Cinco de Mayo, McMahon brought his most recent incarnation Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness to the House of Blues in San Diego for the Zombies in America tour. The night kicked off with California’s own Night Riots who played a short but very convincing set that even included a cover of U2’s “Sunday Bloody Sunday”.
Atlas Genius followed next and they couldn’t be a better opener for McMahon. Their dance-pop fused alternative rock set the tone for the evening as their set included songs from both their studio albums such as “Molecules”, “Stockholm”, and their hit single “Trojans”. They also delivered a perfect rendition of Dead or Alive’s “You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)”.
Following the opening acts, the crowd was ripe with enthusiasm and ready for the star of the night Andrew McMahon. He grew up on the coast, so it was a homecoming show of sorts for him. He opened the set with one of his newest hits “Fire Escape” from his excellent sophomore LP Zombies on Broadway. He then launched into fan favorite “Canyon Moon” from his 2014 self-titled debut album, at least he tried to. Technical problems caused a false start leading the singer to tell the crowd, “It wouldn’t be a rock and roll show if something didn’t go wrong in the first 3 minutes.” He then told the crowd that this would be the longest set of the tour, as the beginning of “Canyon Moon” began again…and then stopped due to the same technical error. “Motherfucker!” McMahon yelled.
Once everything was fixed, Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness kept the energy up for the remainder of the show. Playing nearly all of the newest record, which translates so well into a live show. It’s also quite the luxury to be able to have nearly twenty years of material to choose from and the band dug into the Jack’s Mannequin and Something Corporate catalogs for a few fan favorites. The sold out crowd drowned out McMahon as they sang along to the 2002 Something Corporate classic “I Woke Up In A Car” near the end of the set. The encore included two Jack’s Mannequin tracks including “Hammers and Strings (A Lullaby)” and “La La Lie”. The latter featured McMahon cruising around the audience in a giant inflatable rubber duck while sipping on his margarita in a classy red solo cup. The jubilant expression on McMahon’s face as he made his way through the crowd and back to the stage was one of the highlights of the evening. He’s been through a lot in his career and personal life, so to see that moment of pure happiness was a great sight to see for fans.
The extra-long set closed with the band’s biggest hit “Cecilia and the Satellite” which featured a confetti shower. The whole night was entertaining. From Night Riot’s first note to McMahon standing atop his piano and waving goodbye to the crowd, it was nonstop entertainment. These bands work incredibly well on a bill together and they really all seem to be on the top of their game musically.