Monday, August 8, 2022

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Sound Stage

This is not a concert


Andrew W.K. performed at Vaudeville Mews.

Andrew W.K. performed at Vaudeville Mews.

The beginning of Andrew W.K.’s set at Vaudeville Mews served as a microcosm for the evening as a whole.

“How you all doin’ tonight?” came the call from the speakers. The crowd cheered.

“I said, HOW YOU ALL DOIN’ TONIGHT?” The crowd cheered louder.

“Are you ready to party?” The crowd calls back: “Yes.”

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“I said, are you ready to PARTY?” Louder response.

The voice the crowd is responding to is as canned as StarKist Tuna; recorded who knows when at who knows where. But the crowd responds.

Of the three acts that took the stage Thursday night, only one — PURE GUT — could be realistically called a band. The four-piece walks in the same shadowy valley of noise rock that birthed acts like The Melvins, and their repertoire of lightning-fast, feedback-filled songs served as a needed respite between two surprisingly similar acts at the front and back ends of the evening.

The sets that opening act Little Ruckus and headliner W.K. offered up were not, in any objectively definable way, musical performances. They were certainly performances set to music, but the difference between those two things is more than just semantic. And yet, this was arguably the largest and certainly the most active crowd I’ve ever seen at Mews. I’m not going to lie; it was fun. Nobody is ever going to argue that Andrew W.K. essentially performing karaoke to his own songs is anywhere near the same experience as, say, Matt Woods playing live. But I’ve seen both perform to packed houses, and the transformative effect they have on their respective audiences is the one thing they have in common. You may not see a lot of overlap in their two crowds, but there is certainly room for both in town. CV

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