When the term “party” comes to mind, some think of a bland gathering of college students holding red cups and playing beer pong. To Andrew W.K., partying is his lifestyle which is so much more than beer. It’s rocking out on stage, it’s giving a motivational speech on stage, it’s embracing our own selves, for every quirk and interest we have. And most importantly, it is celebrating the fact that we are alive to party!
My Dad’s birthday was on April 17th and I wanted to get him the best gift yet! I would never dare get him a tie or a gift card. I wanted to give him an experience, but not just any experience, the Andrew W.K. experience. I purchased 2 tickets for us to see him on April 19th at the Arch Street Tavern in Hartford, CT. My Dad knew Andrew W.K. as the guy with the signature bloody nose who sings the anthem, “Party Hard”. But I wanted to show him more than just a collection of YouTube videos and the legendary “I Get Wet” album. I wanted to show him what he was like up close and personal.
On the day of the concert, I dressed up in a white t-shirt, white jeans, and white sneakers, which is what he is known for wearing quite often. Once we got to the tavern, I was worried that it might be too small for A.W.K. to have a true party in. But I knew that he could overcome any challenge. As a matter of fact, he specifically chose to play small bars/venues for this special solo tour. I saw him live for the first time the previous year at the Mohegan Sun Wolf Den. I had never seen so many fans jump on stage there to rock out. The first fan that went on stage, A.W.K. looked at him and asked on the mic, “Hello sir! What’s your name?” Now THAT is party!
Upon having a great meal, it was getting closer to rock out o’clock. The first band, Continuous Improvement, went on first to kick off the party. Unfortunately, I was still seated at the counter eating my meal, but I enjoyed their sound and I even saw one of the band members do a David Lee Roth-style jump. On top of that, they performed a song for Andrew W.K. and even performed a song that had sound clips from Kermit the Frog in it! Awesome!
By this time, I made my way into the crowd, front and center. The next band up, Potty Mouth, was an all-girl band from Northampton, MA, who despite some technical difficulties in the beginning of their set, pulled out a rockin’ performance! The singer made some crazy facial expressions on stage, which ruled! The third and final opener blew me away. They are known as Math The Band. Take two talented musicians, tons of charisma, and a case of Red Bull and that is them! It’s simply the best way that I could describe them. They performed at a lightning fast speed and you must see them!
And then. It was time.
As the crowd was getting ready for the main event, a couple of big, massively drunk guys were starting to mosh and push us people in the front. I got fueled with a white-hot anger when my Dad was getting pushes, but he assured me that he could handle it.
The crowd roared chants of “PARTY!” and “USA!” and “Andrew W.K.!” The sounds of the night changed from the music from the DJs to a prerecorded speech from A.W.K. blaring through the speakers where he spoke of the power and of the importance of partying. The crowd was squishing together up front to see if they could get a glimpse of the Party Man. As soon as he made his way to the stage, the crowd went wild giving him a thunderous ovation. However, he didn’t come alone. He brought the bassist for his band, Blake Canaris to party with all of us. Blake is best described as a heavy metal mountainman. Here’s a photo so you see what I mean.
Upon greeting the crowd, A.W.K. performed his first song, the 90 second intense thrillride off of “I Get Wet”, called It’s Time To Party. While singing at the top of my lungs, I was getting heavily pushed into the speakers and I had to put my hands on stage to help balance myself. I have NEVER seen a crowd rock out this hard, but this is the party! My anger from being worried about my Dad getting trampled turn into me unleashing my inner party animal and I was having a blast.
Throughout the next couple of songs, which included one of my favorites, Long Live The Party, I had two choices. I could potentially get a broken leg from getting pushed into the speakers or I could get out my bucket list on cross one thing out, getting on stage with Andrew W.K. I made my escape by only having the energy to sit on stage and having the best seat in the house, inches away from my idol. Once he started to perform Ready To Die, one of my favorite songs ever, I received a shot of adrenaline, Pulp Fiction style, so I stood up on stage and joined several others to rock out with him. A massive dream came true for me when he faced the mic in my exact direction and I sang one of the lines from Ready To Die! It was so amazing, it felt like a dream.
Shortly after, security stepped in and cleared everyone off of the stage. I ran over to sit on the couch on the side of the stage and got another killer view. Andrew W.K.’s bodyguard did not take shit from anybody and threw one of those big, drunken moshers that I mentioned earlier off the stage like he was a stuffed animal!
Once I made my way back into the crowd, further back this time, I rocked out to the song that introduced me to A.W.K. in the first place, We Want Fun. Then, in a classy move, he was getting ready to sing his hit song, I Love New York City, however he changed the lyrics to I Love Boston City! “I love Boston City! Oh yeah! Boston City!” Around that time and after the security response, a fan had the guts to get on stage and asked Andrew W.K. to autograph his shirt to which he happily did.
Shortly after we all rocked out to Party Hard, the security unfortunately decided to end the show early due to so much rowdiness in such a small setting. Andrew W.K. thanked the crowd, reminded us to celebrate the fact that we are alive, and to never stop partying.
I finally found my Dad standing on a booth on the other side of the stage. I rushed over to him, put my hands on his shoulders, and said, “Welcome to my world!” He said he had never seen anything like that before and that he had a great time. I am so glad that he got to party with Andrew W.K.!
See, I could have thrown my Dad a birthday party, but I ultimately decided on something 100x better, an Andrew W.K. party!
Like the song title goes, Long Live The Party!
Two photos of Andrew W.K. partying!