Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness deliver an epic show at Town Ballroom


Chris Prenatt/The Record

Andrew McMahon sings atop a piano to a sold-out Buffalo crowd.

Chris Prenatt, Contributing Writer

On Sunday night at Town Ballroom, Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness performed to a sold out crowd as part of his Zombies on Broadway tour.

Joined by Californian rock band Night Riots and Australian rock group Atlas Genius, McMahon and his band performed for at least two hours at the historic venue in downtown Buffalo. This was McMahon’s first show back in Buffalo since Alternative Buffalo 107.7’s Kerfuffle before Christmas last December.

Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness is the third project from the Dana Point, CA, singer-songwriter. After disbanding his second band, Jack’s Mannequin, in 2012, McMahon focused on putting music out under his own name, releasing his first solo single, “Synesthesia,” in 2013. That same year, McMahon wrote three songs for the short lived NBC musical drama series Smash, contributing songs such as “Reach for Me,” “I’m Not Sorry,” and “I Heard Your Voice in a Dream,” the latter of which was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Music and Lyrics. In 2014, he started releasing music under the name of Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, releasing a self-titled album that same year and his newest album, Zombies on Broadway, back in February.

The show started off with the sound of a rocket launch with the band walking onstage. McMahon sat down at his piano, decked out with a 3-D design of the New York City skyline and a space helmet, kicking off the show with “Fire Escape,” the first single off of his new album. The set list had McMahon performing songs off of his self-titled album (“Canyon Moon,” “High Dive,” “All Our Lives”) and his newest album (“Shout Out of a Cannon,” “Dead Man’s Dollar”) as well as songs from previous endeavors Jack’s Mannequin (“Dark Blue,” “Swim,” “Holiday from Real”) and Something Corporate (“I Woke Up in a Car.”)

He later covered Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m on Fire” with Night Riots guitarist Matt DePauw and performed “Brooklyn, You’re Killing Me” with Atlas Genius lead vocalist/guitarist Keith Jeffery, who co-wrote the song with McMahon.

During the performance, McMahon promoted the Dear Jack foundation, a charity he had started in 2006 to aide those who have been diagnosed with cancer. McMahon, himself, was diagnosed with leukemia in 2005.  There was a booth set up at the venue on the charity’s behalf.

One of the highlights of the show was McMahon crowd surfing on top of a giant rubber duck during “Don’t Speak for Me (True)” and “La La Lie.” McMahon’s antics also included a giant parachute that engulfed most of the pit during “Synesthesia,” which was a repeat of something that McMahon did last summer while touring with Weezer and Panic! At the Disco. 

He performed four encores, one of which was played specifically for this date which was “Hammers and Strings (A Lullaby,)” a song he originally played with Jack’s Mannequin. The other two encores were “La La Lie,” another  Mannequin song, and “Cecilia and the Satellite,” a song McMahon wrote for his daughter Cecilia and one of his most famous tracks from his latest project.

All in all, McMahon delivered one of the most entertaining concerts Buffalo has seen this year. He performed a total of twenty songs in a period of two hours. McMahon is certainly an artist who knows how to keep his audiences energized and engaged.

His next stop on the tour is in Toronto at the Opera House on April 4th. The show is 19+.

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