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Andrew McMahon Brought Sunshine to a Rainy Evening at Stubb’s

Alt-rock singer and songwriter Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness stopped by Stubb’s Waller Creek Amphitheater during his Upside Down Flowers tour on Saturday, January 26. Though Austin was experiencing some not-so-great weather, the outdoor venue was packed with poncho-wearing, dedicated fans who stuck out the rain for what everyone anticipated would be an amazing night.

Before we dive in, let’s take a walk down memory lane and reminisce on those good days when punk-pop, emo jams were at it’s prime. It was those days and bands that shaped my taste in music, and if you’re in the same boat I’m sure some of my favorites are your favorites too: Dashboard Confessional, Yellowcard, Good Charlotte, Motion City Soundtrack, the list could go on. Remember Something Corporate? How about Jack’s Mannequin? If you said yes to either of those then you’re likely familiar with Andrew McMahon, the frontman of BOTH. If you didn’t know that, then I’m sure you’re having a small mental freak out like I had a couple years ago when I came to this realization.

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Years after producing many beloved, angsty tunes that I’m sure many cherish in their hearts to this day (myself included – “Dark Blue” is a CLASSIC), Andrew began performing and working solo under a new moniker, Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness. His first single “Cecelia and the Satellite” was released in 2014 and soon enough climbed it’s way up to number 7 on US Billboard Alternative Songs. Since then, he’s been dishing out an abundance of hits that we’ll likely hear more and more of.

I’m not going to lie. It was really tough for me to get off my couch on Saturday evening. Don’t get me wrong, I was pumped beyond words to see Andrew perform, but shortly before heading out a DOWNPOUR of rain randomly arrived in Austin which left me in a sour mood (that’s unpredictable Texas weather for ya). After checking the radar, I realized this rain wasn’t going to let up anytime soon, so I suited up in my rain boots, rain coat, and large hat in an effort to stay as dry as possible. I’m not a fan of standing in the rain nor was I in the mood to, but little did I know that this rainy night would turn out to be my favorite nights of the year thus far.

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Photo by Leigh Kettle

In any other city, you’d imagine people would peace-out of an outdoor concert that was struck with rain but oh no, not in Austin. Austinites don’t f*** around with live music. We’re DEVOTED, and it was clearly evident that night at Stubb’s Amphitheater. Cheers struck through the air as the land of Upside Down Flowers unraveled before our eyes, a stage full of giant flowers, vibrant colors, beach umbrellas, and pool paraphernalia. Band members gradually entered the stage one by one until Andrew began singing from behind a white screen that opened up to reveal his black Baldwin piano that he himself pushed out on stage.

Andrew McMahon
Photo by Leigh Kettle

The evening kicked off with a burst of energy, so bright and warm that I forgot it had even been raining. Much to everyone’s surprise, Andrew even trickled in several Jack’s Mannequin and Something Corporate songs throughout his set. The nostalgia was so real, it felt like middle-school Leigh had resurfaced as I and many others in the crowd screamed out lyrics to “The Mixed Tape” and “Dark Blue.” At one point in the show, Andrew even pulled out a giant pool float and crowd surfed through the rain, all while continuing to sing.

Between songs Andrew shared anecdotes, one in particular about his own journey battling cancer during his years in Jack’s Mannequin, which I hadn’t been aware of until that night. After rounds of chemotherapy, radiation, and a stem cell transplant, Andrew defeated leukemia and soon after founded the Dear Jack Foundation, a program benefiting adolescents and young adults diagnosed with cancer. His story moved the crowd as he presented an older Jack’s Mannequin song in “Crashin,” which he said personally helped him through his darkest times.

As we all expected, Andrew’s encore included top track “Cecelia and the Satellite” which got everyone dancing despite the puddle-filled ground that left our shoes wet and muddy. WORTH IT. A bit more unexpected, a Jack’s Mannequin song titled “MFEO: Pt. 1 – Made for Each Other / Pt. 2 – You Can Breathe” followed. As soon as I heard those intro keyboard chimes at the beginning I nearly lost my sh**. It was the ultimate throwback to wrap up the evening.

Andrew McMahon
Photo by Leigh Kettle

Songs in the full setlist included the following (those bolded with links are my personal favorites).

  • Everything Must Go
  • She Paints Me Blue
    (Something Corporate cover)
  • High Dive
  • Love and Great Buildings
  • Halls
  • House in the Trees
  • This Wild Ride
  • Island Radio
  • Blue Vacation
  • Paper Rain
  • Monday Flowers
  • Believe
    (Cher cover)
  • Teenage Rockstars

Encore:

  • Crashin
    (Jack’s Mannequin cover)
  • Everything Must Go
    (Reprise)

Check out some photos from the event below, and be sure to visit https://www.andrewmcmahon.com/ to catch one of Andrew’s next shows!

 

Featured image credit: Leigh Kettle/Shuffle Online

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