With Bleeth and Wastelands
Grand Central, Miami
Saturday, January 31, 2015
Better Than: Partying till you actually puke.
It's crazy to think Andrew W.K. and his merry band of brothers have been getting wet and a party going for 15 years. It seems like just yesterday we were all up in the F.Y.E., lured to the censored packaging of his bloody CD cover.
It's even harder to believe that, in all that time, Andrew W.K. never had a proper headlining Miami gig, but such was the case until Saturday night's mother-lovin' get-down at Grand Central. The dirty-white-T-shirt enthusiast looked just as large and happy-go-lucky as ever. And the wait was worth it. We can now say with total assurance that when it's time to party, dude will party hard.
A couple of local bands got the party started, and if Bleeth was anything as rad as Wastelands, we're officially sorry we missed them. Miami is really crankin' out some rock 'n' fuckin' roll these days. The three-piece Wastelands tore the place up proper with a bunch of instrumentals that incited the bashful beginnings of a pit.
Their music was raw and exciting, and the band had great stage presence. The guitarist even let kids in the front row jam on his ax. One was even pretty good.
After just enough time to suck in a cigarette and reup at the bar, a host of rockin' dudes took to the stage. Three guitarists, two bassists, and one drummer arrived with still no sight of W.K. From the long-haired Weird Al look-alike to the shaved-head muscle man, everyone in this band looks like a different ideal specimen of the rack band dude. They led the crowd in a chant: "It's time to party!"
The band ripped into the dark, brooding, and energetic "Violent Life" instrumental as Andrew himself came running onstage, banging on the keys and getting what the kids now call "turnt." He'd soon hit the mic and let us know, officially, it was time to party, and we were gonna do it tonight.
The pit, bashful no more, was swirling to life, getting bigger and crazier with each song. Girls were jammin' on shoulders and dude waved his sneakers around in the air as would-be crowd surfers took a dive. W.K. is 100 percent a showman. His key melodies are on point. He's kind of the Jerry Lee Lewis of our day but without all that awkward incest shit. From time to time, he'd come out and conduct the crowd in a massive sing-along.
Taking a break from the regularly partycentric program, he grabbed his own guitar and asked us to get "Ready to Die." He ripped out a massive solo, working his way into the most metal rendition of "Oh Come All Ye Faithful" -- and it's not even Christmas! This dude is crazy. Then he dedicated "She Is Beautiful" to all the ladies in the house. We swooned.
It should be noted that a line of six badass rock bros standing onstage is quite the sight. W.K. is the kind of icon who lasts a decade and a half, because while there's the general notion that it's all kind of satirical, it's done really, really well. They really are rockin' the fuck out up there. The pit really is knockin' each other around, but none of that like one-dude-with-his-shirt-off-kicking-people-in-the-head nonsense.
Though his songwriting is quite simple, it's as uplifting as it is catchy. Andrew is tellin' us how to live our lives, man. He's making sure we never give up, that we give everything our all, that we're not being stupid, and that when the work day is over, we really know how to let loose. Andrew W.K. is there for all of us, and we hope he never goes away.
When the band played "T-Shirt Song," it was also 'bout that time to throw some motherfuckin' T-shirts. Actually, they were official "Party Party Party" tanks, and the cueball bassist (who btw makes the best bass faces of all time), kept enthusiastically asking us, "Do you want it?" They threw three of them out into the raging crowd, the last of which fell in the rafters. There was a moment of heavy silence and people were kind of like, "Um, well, what do we do now?" Suddenly, one girl was lifted out of the throng of hands, a full body-length above our heads, and grabbed the sucker. It was almost like it was planned, it was so perfect.
After some more rockin' out, a song about puking, and a special rendition of "I Love
NYC Miami," it was time to fuckin' go in with "Party Hard." One final burst of energy came from all corners of the room. The floor was covered in beer, and we were sliding around on it like we were 17 and nothing mattered. It was the biggest sing-along moment of all. Fists did rise.
The band took leave of the stage, and the crowd erupted in chants of "yes," "Andrew," and "one more song." We got not one but two more songs, because they were nice. Andrew dedicated "I Get Wet" to "all the waters"; then he let the pit know he was watchin' them.
"I've been seeing great stuff from this pit all night," he rasped. "With whatever energy you've got left, whirlpool!" And holy crap, what a whirlpool they gave, half the crowd turning into a spinning mess, and if anyone fell down, there was a rush to pick them up, and then on they ran.
After one final "Headbang," it truly was party over, but what we learned that night, beer in our hand and friends at our side, is that as long as Andrew W.K. and his six-dude band are out there, the party is never really over. And thank God for that.
It's Time to Party
Take It Off
Girls Own Love
Ready to Die
She Is Beautiful
Tear It Up
Long Live the Party
Never Let Down
Party Til You Puke
We Want Fun
I Get Wet
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Follow Kat Bein on Twitter @KatSaysKill.