PHILADELPHIA, PA—I was so thankful there was room on the balcony at the Theatre Of Living Arts for the 10th anniversary celebration of Andrew W.K.’s I Get Wet album. If I hadn’t been off the floor for the sold out show, I would have surely been killed in the massive brofest happening on the floor below. To any fans that partied with the crowd on the floor, I salute you. There was impermeable mass dancing and the crowd surfers ranged from teenagers to those that had been when the album first came out.
The night was full of surprises—the first of which was walking in to a pantless Aleister X on stage singing along to a mash-up of different genres that melded into what I took away as a darker party vibe that Andrew W.K. was here to bring. He was donned in a wrestler’s robe and complete goth makeup, which reminded me of Death from Bill And Ted’s Bogus Journey. I was intrigued and impressed.
The times between sets were longer than I’m used to and I was a bit restless when the hyper-energized Math The Band took the stage. The duo creates intense, hipster dance music infused with that Nintendo 8-bit sound. A live guitar and single drum were played alongside the programmed beats. A couple songs in, I was dancing along, but grew tired by watching the nonstop aerobic dance moves from both performers who had more energy than I had all week.
There was a downside to their set in things sounding too jumbled together and the noise became chaotic and random instead of planned chaos. Even the vocals were starting to sound unclear and I didn’t know if this was due to the speakers of the venue or due to the guitarist jumping in and out of his guitar strap. I will admit they were a perfect choice to open for the party monster himself, Andrew W.K.
If you didn’t know he was playing his I Get Wet album in its entirety, then you’ve been living under a rock. With “Party Hard” second up for the night, I didn’t think fans could party any harder after this song but I was mistaken. On the floor below, people were dancing, jumping and singing along to every word.
Not to limit the night to only songs from I Get Wet, inspirational dialog was added and guitar solos, even one by Andrew W.K. on a pizza-shaped guitar, were featured. He was also sure to have an intense piano playing moment. With other old songs from the catalog played after I Get Wet, a new song, “Head Bang,” was played to an eager crowd and makes as a promissory note for more new music to come.
Andrew W.K. seemed ecstatic to be back on the road headlining with his band and each musician partied on stage as much as they could. Also on stage was his wife, Cherie Lily, who provided backup vocals and acted as a hype man, or woman in this case. As if the stage wasn’t already small enough for the craziness taking place, Andrew W.K. decided to take it to the next level.
I said a prayer for security and watched as they would soon step aside and allow for the flood of fans to take to the stage. It started out as a few crowd surfers, then people came around the side and it became a free-for-all. Even though fans enjoyed their moments in the sun on stage and hogged the microphones when in their proximity, band members still mixed in, really making this night feel like we were all there together for this grand celebration.