Andrew W.K. Rings in the New Year | Allston Pudding | By Andy Moran
If you told me that Andrew W.K., the king of party himself, had a plan to play the entirety of I Get Wet, his first studio release and the album that put party rock on the map thanks to features in Tony Hawk Pro Skater and Jackass? And was to be supported by Vundabar and the bluegrass juggernauts themselves, Tigerman Whoa? I would have assumed you were joking. Nothing could possibly be that perfect and weird. But after confirming with several of my friends that not only was it actually happening, but that it was going to be held on New Years Eve? And at a venue as small as Paradise Rock Club? It was game over, man.
10pm on New Years Eve rolls around and kicks off a delightfully strange set from the Massachusetts native trio Vundabar, picking several tracks to play off their newly released 2015 LP “Gawk” in their jangly, reverb heavy ways. Even breaking out into an avant-garde musical conversation between drummer and lead vocalist just 10 minutes into their set. What they were talking about is beyond me, but it certainly made me laugh.
11pm arrives, and after the crowd’s hype starts to die down after the initial sighting of a real life upright bass during Tigerman Whoa’s soundcheck (a rare sight around these parts) Boston was once again was able to feel the full force of who they are as a band: An anti-establishment driven punk/folk/bluegrass goliath who take no prisoners in a city where it’s hard to find a unique and memorable sound. Lead singer and banjo uke extraordinaire Kaz’s low, scratchy growl of a voice is as raw as it gets and doesn’t take much to get the crowd revved up with his relentless energy. Playing a mixture of old and new, and occasionally taking the swig of beer from a kind audience member loaning their bottle, I’m positive there were at least several groups of people who left that venue with a new band to look up as soon as they got on the T on their ways home.
Two openers down, one party to go. Tigherman exits the stage and we’re left waiting in excitement for what we were all truly there for. Then, when 11:49 hits, with no introduction or context Andrew W.K.’s unmistakable voice sounds off over the house speakers:
“666… 665… 664…”
I look around to see if anyone else hears what I hear.
“659… 658… 657…”
We all think it’s just another sound check and brush it off as such. But it doesn’t stop any time soon, and the concert goers are confused.
“598… 597… 596” “
Slowly but surely, we all realize what’s happening, and it makes all the more sense. It’s no sound check; it’s a count down from 666 to midnight. Second by second, minute by minute the count inches closer to zero; the crowd gets louder and louder. People start pulling out their phones to snapchat the New Year in this strange way. Andrew’s voice over the speakers gets progressively louder and more amped up as he reaches “100… 99… 98…” One by one, the musicians take their place on stage and start counting along with the audience until finally:
“3… 2… 1!”