LIVE REVIEW: Andrew and His Band Slay Florida

Partying with The King of Partying | Shows I Go To | By Dena Davis & Trevor Bosmans

In this installment, Dena and Trevor attend Andrew W.K.’s party of a performance in Orlando, FL. Dena had never witnessed a live Andrew W.K. party before but is a huge fan of the man and what he does for the world. And, she likes to party. Trevor, well, Trevor loves Andrew W.K., has seen him live multiple times, and absolutely loves to party, HARD! – Mitch Foster.

Dena: I suppose it should come as no surprise that the man most recognized for his piano-driven, punk-and-metal-infused rock anthems, would be fantastically fun live. But there’s a heck of a lot more beneath the surface of the self-described “King of Partying” — and you feel it when you’re actually at his party.

Trevor: The party began as Andrew W.K. took the stage grinning from ear to ear and slapping high fives to everyone in sight. He opened with the only fitting song, “It’s Time to Party”, the opening track from his classic debut album I Get Wet. By the time the song was over everyone in the room knew we were in for a something special that night.

T: My night began at the Andrew W.K. Pizza Party at Park Ave CDs, hoping for a chance to meet the “King of Partying” while grabbing a slice of free pizza. At most “Meet & Greets” the artist usually signs your stuff, says a few words, and if you’re lucky, you’ll get a picture. I was amazed at the amount of time he spent with each person. Andrew W.K. actually took the time to have a conversation with every fan which made me respect him even more. I was bummed that I didn’t get to personally meet him but I enjoyed watching him interact with fans.

D: Now, to be fair, I should tell you I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. W.K. earlier that day. He had graciously granted SIGT an on-camera interview after his soundcheck, despite already being over an hour behind schedule. I was familiar with a lot of his music and recently became an avid reader/fan of his superbly-written, poignant and entertaining “Ask Andrew” columns in the Village Voice. Still, I was delighted by his demeanor in person. In my decade of working in the media, encountering numerous celebrities, I don’t recall many as humble and kind as Andrew was to me and my crew that day.

T: Any great night of partying must start with some pre-gaming. So, I headed over to Mitch’s place for some beers before heading towards The Social, making it inside just in time to see the band take the stage.

D: The music had not yet begun when I walked into the sold-out Social that night, yet I was giggling in anticipation. I made my way to a tiny clearing near a few friends, packed in tightly with some of the most polite fans you’d want to meet. A pit of more party-hard patrons separated us from the center of the stage. Over the sea of rocking fingers and hands, I saw Andrew’s posse of four guitar players, a bassist and a drummer take their places.

T: Four guitarists! Once all the band members (again, four guitarists!) were on stage a voice came over the speaker that said “Ladies and Gentlemen, Andrew W.K.” as he walked on stage with his fists in the air.

D: As a thundering voice rumbled thru the speakers: “Are you ready to party??!” I jumped and squealed in jubiliation, yes, gosh YES! The guitars started in on the I Get Wet album’s opener “It’s Time To Party” and Andrew bounded onto the platform glowing in his all-alibaster garb and proceeded to sing while head-banging, fist-pumping and flailing about. And, man, did he do those things well.

T: Yes he does, Dena. I had seen Andrew W.K. with his full band several times before but there was something different about the energy in the room that night. I was originally upset that they moved the show from The Beacham to The Social because I wanted more room to dance but it is the intimacy of The Social that made this show absolutely spectacular.

D: Agreed. A.W.K. has what your typical rockstars have: charisma and talent. But it’s his relentless positive energy, authenticity and unbridled joy that translates into a more profound interaction with his fans. Andrew could play a kazoo on stage and I’m certain he would put every dang passionate fiber of his being into it and we’d catch his contagious exuberance and love every sound and second of it.

T: The amount of energy this man possesses is like no other front man I have seen. I could tell too, just by looking at him, that he loves every second of what he does. Who wouldn’t love throwing a party for hundreds or thousands of your closest friends every night in a different city?

D: When you leave a concert with more than what you carried in — without even spending a dime — then, you have won. Last Friday, I was the big winner at the Andrew W.K. show in downtown Orlando. Actually, every single person at the Social must have felt like a champion. I’m not referring to winning material things; merch t-shirts or hats. I’m not even talking about achieving a perfect beer buzz — I was guzzling water that night. I’m speaking about the organic sweet stuff that can’t be bought or easily measured: natural highs, permanent cheek-aching grins, new pals and — yeah, let’s get deep here — expanded consciousness.

I think we always hope for that special zen-like moment at shows. An unmistakable, beautifully ineffable instance when you realize you’re having a truly great live music experience. A deliciously sensory, emotional wave comes over you, something larger than yourself has taken over — music. It rushes to your brain like you’ve just slurped down a handful of Pixie Sticks in seconds.

It spawns excited miniscule mountain ranges of hair follicles on your arms. No matter how loud it gets, everything quiets inside you, your mind opens, you become totally present, losing track of time and space. AWK gave that to me.

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