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Thursday, 19 April 2018

A View From The Back Of The Room: Andrew W.K

Andrew W.K, Y Plas, Cardiff

Supposed to be taking place in the Great Hall in November 2017 the return of Andrew W.K (8) to Cardiff actually took place in April 2018 to smaller but more intense audience. The tour was moved to coincide with the Prince Of Positive Partyings most recent album You’re Not Alone a record that sees him returning to the high energy rock of his early discography. Having arrived late to the show I missed the opening band’s set but as the room was nicely filled with not a lot of space for those in their to move, as the band took to the stage the volume increased and the audience surged to the front.

What followed was one of the most exciting live sets and audience reactions to a gig I’ve seen a long time, The Power Of Partying intro neatly slipped into the anthemic Music Is Worth Living For which got fists in the air and voices trying to hit those high falsetto’s, it was a masterful start building drama with a huge arena filling track that led into another newbie Ever Again which is a defiantly kooky number. Andrew was in full flight mastering both the classical pianist and frontman roles brilliantly, tucking his mic into his waistband when he was attacking the keys like a rabid Liberace (although the trademark white T-Shirt and Jeans combo would be frowned upon surely), then when he was singing the arms were failing like man Kung Fu fighting with invisible Ninja.

Ready To Die, She Is Beautiful and Tear It Up is where things got tasty and the whole floor descended into chaos with pits, crowd surfers and madness coming from the first 7 rows, if you didn’t want to move you had no choice it was stick to the back wall or get your body grooving. The band were ship shape crunching through Party Till You Puke, Never Let Down and the turbo-charged We Want Fun, the triple guitar attack coming from Amanda Lepre, Erik Payne and Dave Pino (shredding leads), keys from Erica Pino and a power party of a rhythm section of Gregg Roberts’ bass with Clark Danger’s drums (who played W.K covers on YouTube and is now in the band), Andrew’s wife Cherie wasn’t part of this line up so handling her vocals were Amanda and Erica with the Erik giving us the big thrash howls only an man in an Obituary shirt could muster.

As the set progressed the throng got more mental by the second and soon there were bodies everywhere as the main show was rounded out by I Get Wet and You’re Not Alone. 14 songs in and not a hint of slowing down, the pace was breathless with everyone involved needing the encore gap to recover. What had been noticeable that was despite the volume there was a real clarity to the mix, to write of Andrew and co as ‘just a party band’ is to give discredit them, they are all musicians that excel in their field, Andrew also took time to extol the virtues of his party philosophy Violent Life the instrumental that began the encore was enough to prove this point as the band themselves have enough charisma to carry a show without their frontman namesake.

It’s Time To Party came next building up the crowd into near frenzy, however it was followed by the slower Pushing Drugs which I will admit killed a bit of the momentum, that said the final track was ‘THE’ Andrew W.K song so it was enough to whip up the masses again, had it been anything else there might have been a damp squib of an ending but when a song has been played on every music channel and metal club night since it’s release, the final euphoric statement of Party Hard kicked the entire evening into overdrive prompting numerous crowded surfers most of whom aided by our man Stief. I’ve been waiting since I was 13 to see Andrew W.K live and it was everything I wanted it to be and more. Come back soon Andrew the party is still raging in Cardiff.

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