By: Brittany Woolsey
Now that he's taken the firm leap to writing new material under his own name, Orange County's own Andrew McMahon took the stage of the Troubadour in Los Angeles Thursday night to celebrate a new phase of his career in front of a sea of fans anxious to hear new material and hopefully relive a bit of the magic from his previous life as the lead singer of Jack's Mannequin and Something Corporate.
Throughout the evening, McMahon kept his stage banter to a minimum in front of the sold-out crowd, instead offering ample time to play many fan favorites, from mellow songs like “Cavanaugh Park” to dance anthems like “Bruised.”
Having just played his last shows as Jack's Mannequin, the chance to see the material revisited seemed cathartic for fans who refuse to take McMahon's old albums off repeat.
At one point, McMahon took a second to share his appreciation and why he decided to play the Troubadour for this non-tour show.
“It's hands down my favorite rock 'n' roll venue in Southern California,” he said.
The venue provided a cozy space for McMahon and his fans alike to share an intimacy that may have not been seen at other venues. There were plenty of moments where McMahon would look up and sing directly to fans either from his mic behind his piano or while dancing on stage.
The space also allowed McMahon to share intimate stories of how songs came to be, and who they were dedicated to.
“['Swim'] is for anyone who is going through that battle,” McMahon said, who is a leukemia survivor himself, before playing the uplifting song.
While introducing “Synesthesia,” from his newly released EP The Pop Underground, McMahon acknowledged his friends from fun.'s success, and attributed that to the song's creation.
;While many Jack's Mannequin and Something Corporate songs show a range of music from mellow, piano-driven sounds to rock anthems about teenage antics, McMahon's solo songs, from the new EP showcased a polished, upbeat sound that went over well with the crowd.
However, old-school hits like Something Corporate's “Punk Rock Princess” and Jack's Mannequin's “The Mixed Tape” were the standouts of the evening, as expected. And nothing came close to the performance of “Konstantine,” a nearly 10-minute song that incorporates a lovely piano tune and captivating lyrics by McMahon.
Before playing the highly requested song, fans chanted for it, even though McMahon show regulars had an inclination that he was going to play it.
One voice in the crowd was persistent about requesting “Konstantine,” which gave McMahon license to have a little fun with the eager audience member.
“I'm going to play it,” he said, pointing at her. “But I'm not playing it for you.”
This made the crowd laugh, and showed a playful side to McMahon. Despite having formed two successful bands and playing across the world, McMahon proved that he was still a down-to-earth Orange County man.
Critic's Bias: I've loved Andrew McMahon since I began listening to Something Corporate when I was 13. I enjoyed listening to “North” before going to bed, I can never skip “Konstantine” when it comes on shuffle on my iPod, and I cried when I found out Andrew had cancer. I just love him, okay?
The Crowd: Fans of all ages could be seen throughout the venue wearing Something Corporate and Jack's Mannequin shirts. Andrew also said his family was in the crowd. Adorable.