Show Review: Andrew W.K. at the Regency

Originally published on March 13, 2012

Andrew W.K. :: 03.06.12 :: The Regency Ballroom :: San Francisco, CA

Andrew W.K. by Alex Becker

Party master Andrew W.K. is currently on tour, bringing his super-sized arena rock to local venues across the country. If you were to watch a performance without knowing where the show was happening, it would not be a big stretch of the imagination to picture Andrew and his hard rocking bandmates on an elaborately crafted stage with extended catwalks and pulsing laser light shows at Madison Square Garden. The energy that explodes off the stage during his live shows is really just that high, and he never stops to rest from roaring out vocals, beating piano keys into submission, and headbanging along with the audience at any spare moment. This current tour is highlighting Andrew’s 2001 debut album, I Get Wet, and they played through all of the tracks that many fans had memorized long ago. An excited crowd came out to The Regency Ballroomlast week where Andrew W.K effectively demonstrated why he has been labeled as one of the only true rock stars of the past decade, as he definitely orchestrated an all-inclusive, adrenaline-infused, and just pure fun night of rocking out in San Francisco.

The show started off with a generic voice recording addressing the audience with this message: “Hello everybody. It’s time to party.” The crowd kept up the latter part of this chant until the lights went out and Andrew W.K. sauntered out to blast into the first song of the set, fittingly titled “It’s Time to Party”. People took this initial message to heart, and the whole front half of the room roughhoused their way into a churning pit that stripped people of their inhibitions as well as their shoes, and there was even a sighting of one crowd surfer that temporarily got separated from his pants. All of these things can be used as a gauge to determine how rocking a show actually is, and if a concert is so crazy that it separates fans from their pants, the readings from the rock meter have almost certainly gone WAY into the red.

Andrew W.K. by Lindsay Merrill

Andrew W.K really has a giant following of some of the most supportive and overly enthusiastic superfans. People copied his style and dressed in all white with his trademark fake blood splatter flowing from their noses down the front of their shirts. All these people that could have been extras on the set of Dextercame out to rage in a no holds barred night of moshing, and Andrew W.K. did not disappoint. He showed off his skills on the piano, an instrument he started to learn at age four, and the fast paced and clear toned notes provided a neat, unconventional contrast to the distorted guitar chords and metal style vocals of his music.

The rest of the musicians on stage added to the chaos, which was inevitable with an overwhelming five guitar players who looked like they had been pulled straight from a 80s Whitesnake poster. Their seriously long hair obscured contorted expressions while they ground out distorted metal guitar hooks and sang along with Andrew during the repeating lyrics of many songs. Further musicians on stage included a bassist, a drummer, and a hardcore female vocalist sporting a leather leotard outfit that made it look like she was in the midst of leading a metal head aerobic workout video. Whenever there was a break in the lyrics, she and Andrew would bust out some wildly animated dance moves, most of which involved punching in different directions while headbanging and whipping their bountiful hair in circles. People in the audience took their cues and adopted these moves, many of which were put into practice on stage when crowd surfers swam hard enough over the hands of friends to make it up to the front.

Andrew W.K. by Lindsay Merrill

The best part of the night was close to the end of the show when the band played “Don’t Stop Living in the Red”, at which point half of the audience propelled themselves up on stage to go crazy with the band. Everyone was wholly absorbed in the present and vivaciously animated, singing along and playing air guitar. Andrew W.K. stopped and addressed his newly formed entourage, “We’re not putting on a concert right now; we’re having a party!” When looking out over the crowd and seeing how everybody was so completely filled with pure excited energy, his sentiment was completely true.

The show ended after an encore where the band played a few new songs, one simply being named “Head Bang”. The bridge of this number contains full minutes of extended guitar shredding, and the audience was immediately back up on stage to demonstrate the full experience of the song. Everyone appreciatively cheered as the night came to a close, and then happily went off on a mission to look for stray shoes that had gotten away during the course of the night. Andrew W.K. constantly references partying and living life to its full positive potential in all of his songs, and he definitely brought a night packed with crazed fun to San Francisco. If you want to get in on this mayhem, check to see if this tour is coming to your city and go get wet with Andrew W.K.


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