The University of Iowa University of Iowa

Show Review: Andrew W.K. @ Blue Moose 9/19

W.K. surrounded by fans onstage

It’s only fitting that rock n’ roll’s biggest partier came to the nation’s biggest party school. Iowa City was a perfect place to stop for his “Party Messiah” tour. Andrew W.K.’s concert Thursday night at Blue Moose was a testament to the fact that you don’t actually have to have any good songs to put on an incredible performance. 

 Straight Up! was the only opening band of the night. I was surprised there was only one, but I guess it would be difficult to find openers for someone like W.K., since it’s impossible to pinpoint his genre. I actually really liked Straight Up. This young pop-punk band from the Quad Cities sounded like Sum 41, (but not nearly as egotistical), with a nice edge of post-hardcore elements.

Straight Up!

The majority of their songs were completely clean singing with catchy melodies, until their finale, which was almost entirely screaming. It threw me off a little, but vocalist Andrew Grimes actually had a good screaming voice, and I think this band could have a lot of potential if they explored experimenting with that avenue more.

Andrew W.K. usually tours with a  backing band, but this time he opted for a solo show with just his keyboard and backing music tracks… and what appeared to be a very drunk homeless man dancing and shouting on stage with him.

W.K. jamming out

I was very curious to see how this one-hit-wonder was going to fill an hour set, and the product was beyond entertaining. On one hand, he really only played maybe five legitimate songs, but on the other hand he literally never stopped playing uptempo dance music, slayed an impressive keyboard jam, made an impromptu song about how great Iowa City is, and let the entire crowd come dance on stage with him and his hilarious homeless sidekick.

W.K.’s friend doing…something

The experience definitely became more of a rave than a simple concert. The word “party” had to have been said more than a hundred times in his songs, but there really is no better word to describe what happened. I wish I had gotten a picture of the security gaurds’ faces when the crowd stampeded onto the stage; it was almost as funny as whatever W.K.’s colleague was doing. It’s hard to say W.K.’s performance was a good concert from a music-critic perspective, but there is no question he is a world-class entertainer incapable of putting on a lackluster show.

I had a great time despite only knowing his one hit, “Party Hard”. In case you’re unfamiliar, check it out below.