ANDREW W.K. IN MILWAUKEE, WI ON OCT 18, 2017
I once met Andrew W.K., when I saw his band for the first time. Afterward, we got to talking for a little over two hours, which his tour manager got more and more pissed off. During this conversation, amidst my shit talking of groups like Backstreet Boys, this man let fly with a barrage of logical cannon fire that sticks with me to this day. in fact, I wrote it down so I would never forget it. Here’s what he said to me:
“The thing you have to remember is, no matter how you feel about the music or what it stands for, somewhere, somehow, that music is affecting someone in a positive way.“
– Andrew W.K., July 2nd, 2002
Ladies and gentlemen, Andrew W.K. is back. It took a lot of doing for me to really let myself believe that considering how long its been. Since 2003, the guy lost most of his band, went through years worth of legal troubles with a former business partner, preventing him from playing anything at all.
… which would explain why he instead filled his time with music production, inventions, lecturing, motivational speaking, breaking Guinness World Records, writing a book, forming a political party (the Party party- no shit), learning to play more instruments, brand representation for a Playtex sex wipe, hosting TV shows, SPEAKING on a political show, writing a column, aaaaand voice acting on Aqua Teen Hunger Force.
Friends, I’m not even kidding, all that happened.
So in all this time since I last saw the band(14 years), you’d think a band on a comeback tour would be sort of phoning it in, playing the hits, etc. Not the case with AWK. Not only did they play the hits, they did a TON of B- sides, including some songs they only released on an EP in Japan (which I own).
He also broke out some songs from his new forthcoming album, on which he wrote, produced, and played everything. The man likes to keep busy. Supposedly this album has been finished for almost two years, and, now that he’s finally done with his lawsuit, it will be released sometime before spring 2018.
I can say this, in all honesty. This new iteration(which still has the original bassist and one of the guitarists) of the AWK band was ON FUCKING POINT.
Even the new members, who had very obviously fought to be in the band, were just kicking out the JAMS! In my opinion, there aren’t enough rock bands boasting three guitarists, and we know exactly why AWK does it- because it’s loud. Very loud. And that’s what he’s about, loud, driving party music.
And because of it, a party was had. On a weekday in Milwaukee, which is one of the more blue collar cities in the region, there were almost 500 people in attendance to see who I have long believed is the savior of true rock and roll music.
This band not only started in 6th gear, they kept it in top gear throughout the entire show. But for a man who once played a tour with a broken leg, this isn’t really saying a whole lot. What does say a whole lot is that thoughout their NINETY MINUTE set, these guys never lost a step. Not only that, but his fans kept up. In fact, as the set went on, the crowd got rowdier! halfway through the show, the place was going nuts! I was so happy to see this man I’ve looked up to for almost 20 years, being back on stage, and coming at you with the fury of the rock GODS!
The moment of it all was as if I’d been seeing his band for the first time.
Speaking of first times, the first time I saw AWK was back in 2002, when they headlined The Rock Stage at Milwaukee’s Summerfest. It was one of the best shows I’ve seen in my life. This might not have been on such a grand scale, seeing as how it was played in The Rave’s crappy ass basement stage, but I think the intimacy made the show as good as the first show. Even as I was yelling at the stoned- out- of- his- mind moron of a “lighting tech” the rave, for some reason, let sit behind the board, these guys were ravaging the crowd. I couldn’t help but stare in awe as this band tore through their set like a runaway train.
You might have noticed that I’ve been a bit vague on the actual details, and that’s been on purpose. Someone once told me that if you really want to capture a person’s imagination of an event, then you should be a little vague. If my storytelling has done its job, then you will have been picturing this mammoth- sized, three- guitar rock band as what have for the better part of 20 years: an inspirational reminder to PARTY HARD, and that’s what we did. You missed this party, but I hope your metal sensability won’t keep you from missing the next one.
The man is back, people, and you should be in awe.
Check out the photos from the show here
Written by Hobbes Caltous for Bloodrock Media, October 28, 2017.