Words by James Smith
Photos by Dylan Martin
After a streak of cold days, Melbourne finally had a nice warm day and what better way to bring a close to a nice, August day than to party and party late. The best way to party, though, is with the proclaimed king of partying, the one and only Andrew W.K and his full band, and where better to party than the great Corner Hotel in Richmond?
To kick off the party festivities was Sydney band Bare Bones. With a fairly decent 30-minute set, Bare Bones came out of the gates hard and fast and were catching the attention of everyone in the venue, and even the attention of those still making their way in. Vocalist Tom Kennedy had full control of the stage while guitarist James Dean shredded it up. One very clear show of putting in 110% though was their bassist James Clarke, who was clearly trying to rev up the crowd. As great of a set it was, it was a lot heavier than what was in store for the rest of the night; but it was a great way to start the party and for some, the perfect music to get a few drinks in and prepare for what was to come.
To keep everything moving forward, Melbourne locals and all around legends The Bennies were brought to the stage with a huge roar from the crowd. As much as the night was for Andrew W.K, The Bennies have a very loyal local following and it showed throughout the night. With vocalist Anty shouting “ARE YOU READY TO PARTY?” they jumped straight into Highlander which had the local fans absolutely loving every minute of it. The Bennies were, by far, the best choice for the tour support as they suited the vibe perfectly, especially since they went from being their regular four-piece band to being a massive eight-piece by adding the essential elements of any ska band: the horn section. That’s right. The Bennies had a sax, a trumpet and a trombone on stage to make the full 40-minute set one of epic proportions, especially for a support.
People up the front on the barrier were going insane and the whole band was enjoying every single minute of it. For the few people who had never heard of The Bennies until the show, even they got sucked into being a fan. The security didn’t seem too happy though as Anty announced, out loud, “I smell the ganja,” which started the security hunting down the fan who was having that little bit too much fun. In the end, if Andrew W.K is the king of partying, The Bennies are the dukes of partying in Australia especially when their closing song is Party Machine.
Having been six very long years, Andrew W.K finally graced our Australian shores with his full band. Having a large following already, the band got some more commercial success recently having appeared on the game trailer for Bethesda‘s upcoming Rage 2 game and having performed live at the E3 conference in LA that was streamed worldwide (to mixed results as it was the right sound, wrong location). This night was definitely the right place and right time for the party legend.
With the curtains closed and The Corner packed, everyone was excited to see the party master. Starting with The Power of Partying, the crowd were chanting “PARTY, PARTY, PARTY,” as Andrew W.K and his band hit the stage to jump into Music is Worth Living For. The whole venue was going crazy. The energy from Andrew W.K was immense and he had everyone in the palm of his erratically moving hands.
After absolutely tearing the roof off with Ready to Die, Andrew W.K did a fun little guitar solo before dedicating She is Beautiful to “all the ladies in the house.” This reviewer has been to many shows at The Corner Hotel but to have people from the front to the back corner, fist pumping, headbanging and singing along is a feat very few bands have been able to do. It was pure, chaotic fun.
With Andrew W.K always front and centre, he is a spectacle to behold. If he isn’t playing his keyboard, he’s moving like an absolute madman with complete enthusiasm and, even if you’re almost out of energy, his movements push energy into you in a way where you never want to stop. It may be the name of the tour but watching him and the band, the party really never dies at all.
After blasting through songs like You Will Remember Tonight, We Want Fun and Break the Curse, Andrew W.K threw in a nice little keyboard solo before breaking into I Get Wet. The whole time the energy from not only the band, but the crowd, somehow seemed to break thresholds. Even when the main set finished with You’re Not Alone, everyone was pumped and ready for even more.
After pretty much running back on stage, the encore was on and it was an encore to remember. With the crowd running on adrenaline from the main set, they put everything into each and every song. Andrew W.K and his band were no different. Tearing the place down with Violent Life, It’s Time to Party and Pushing Drugs, it was time to bring a party to a close. After a countdown from 100 to rival the New Year’s Eve countdown, the final song Party Hard did exactly that. Everyone was partying like they had never partied before and with a huge finish to drain that last little bit of energy, the party was over. Though we learnt tonight that the party never dies. Not really.
GET TICKETS TO TONIGHT’S SHOW AT SYDNEY’S MANNING BAR HERE!