It’s been two years since Andrew McMahon graced the UK and in such a short space of time. So much has happened in his life. First and foremost, the birth of his daughter Cecilia which was the subject for a number of songs from McMahon’s debut album as a solo artist under the guise of Andrew McMahon In The Wilderness.
Opening up tonight’s show are Sykes, a three-piece electro pop who have stripped back their line-up and “left their drummer in London”. With the sparse line-up of a piano, electric guitar and vocals, the duo manage to command the audience with their captivating sound reminiscent of London Grammar and The XX. Ending their set on a high with ‘Gold Dust’, the duo are overwhelmed by the amount of excitement from the audience with hopes to return to Birmingham sooner rather than later.
Gracefully appearing onstage to Pachelbel’s Canon in D Major, the crowd erupts into a roar of applause for McMahon who holds up signs encouraging the audience to sing with the imperative sign reading “Remember, requests are for karaoke bars”.
Opening up his set with ‘Synesthesia’, the crowd seem quite shy to sing along at first but with each chorus, more and more members of the audience muster up the confidence to join in. With a set pulling from a diverse range of material from his career, a lot of songs are dusted off and make surprise appearances. In particular ‘As You Sleep’ and ‘Spinning’ are surprise additions to the set.
Newer material from the ‘…In The Wilderness’ record goes down an absolute treat and songs like ‘Black And White Music’ and ‘High Dive’ receive huge sing along backing from the audience who have only had a couple of months to learn the lyrics. The real highlight of the night that can’t be found or replicated on the album though is McMahon’s natural talent for storytelling, it’s on ‘Maps For The Getaway’ where he retells the story of visiting his old house and sitting outside of it in his car, quickly acknowledging how creepy that sounds and retracting it which brings the audience into fits of laughter which continue throughout the song.
McMahon treats the audience to an absolutely perfect end with a haunting rendition of ‘Dark Blue’ before going into ‘Cecila & The Satellite’, the anecdotal narrative of the lyrics gives a perfect way to gauge how much he has been through and hopefully only good things are on the way for Andrew McMahon.