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Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness Throw the Best Pool Party Ever

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Photography by Dylan Novacek

The Upside Down Flowers Tour Review


Of all the artists I have seen live, none put on a show like Andrew McMahon. Last night he brought The Upside-Down Flowers tour to First-Avenue. Supporting his 2018 release of the same name, this tour transformed the iconic Twin Cities venue into the best pool party ever.

Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, First Avenue
Photography by Dylan Novacek

Last time McMahon came to town, he did a Mr. Rogers Neighborhood themed show complete with the sweater, special guests and all. This is one thing that makes these shows stand out. With fun and clever themes, McMahon has a blast putting on these shows, and us fans love every second of it.

The show began with his band setting the stage, appearing and stating that it was a lovely night for a pool party. They pulled down the curtains that had “pool closed” and “no peeing” written on them to reveal a beautifully made, pool side set.

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Photography by Dylan Novacek

Andrew McMahon made his grand entrance from the top balcony singing “Everything Must Go,” from his latest release. McMahon came through the crowd and eventually sat down at his piano, which was covered in stickers from his various travels. The night would only get better from there.

A self-proclaimed Teenage Rockstar, one might know McMahon best from his past projects such as Something Corporate and Jack’s Mannequin. Throughout his two-hour set, he would revisit classics of his discography such as “Dark Blue” and “The Mixed Tape.” It was the perfect blend of old and new songs that would please any fan.

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Photography by Dylan Novacek

McMahon played with immense energy as he moved from jamming on his piano to jumping about the stage and into the crowd. There were even points where he was stepping on the piano keys and doing incredibly impressive jumps off of his instrument.

A surprisingly interactive show, McMahon turned First-Avenue into a swimming pool by throwing a blue tarp over the audience. He would then proceed to dance with the crowd underneath it.

Andrew McMahon Does A Crowd Selfie with My Phone!

The highlight of the show for me was when McMahon took my phone and did a video with the crowd. As he performed “Punk Rock Princess,” he was singing between the crowd barrier and the stage. I thought it would be fun to do a selfie with my girlfriend with McMahon in the background…he had a better idea. I was totally taken off guard and it completely made my night!

Other highlights included fan favorites like “Dark Blue” and an acoustic version of “Synesthesia.” The show had incredible moments of high energy and deeply emotional moments from songs like “Swim.” It was a true rollercoaster.

Supporting this show were Grizfolk and Flor. Both acts exceeded my expectations.

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Photography by Dylan Novacek

Grizfolk started off the night with a sound that reminded me of a more rock-focused Of Monsters and Men. A 5-piece alternative rock act, each member brought a distinct energy to the stage that was incredibly enjoyable to watch. I would recommend their track “Waking Up The Giants.” The entire song brings the listener into an epic landscape of sound with excellent drums and vocals. The sound is even better live.

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Photography by Dylan Novacek

Following Grizfolk was Flor. Perhaps best known for their hits “Hold On” and “Warm Blood,” this group introduced me to even more incredible jams. One of the best opening acts I’ve seen in a long time, Flor’s energy was totally electric.

Lead singer Zach Grace performed with sincere joy and confidence. The group sounded nearly studio perfect as they got First-Avenue on their feet. Seeming surprised by the audience reaction, it’s safe to say Flor thought Minneapolis music fans were the best and most welcoming.

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Photography by Dylan Novacek

Flor recently released a new song entitled “Get Behind This” which I highly recommend. Additionally, I suggest listening to their entire album entitled come out. you’re hiding. which dropped from Fueled By Ramen in 2017.

Wrapping up his performance by crowd surfing on a giant pool floaty and climbing the balconies, McMahon captivated the entire venue. He even stopped to wish a lucky 3-year old fan a happy birthday!

I’ve seen Andrew McMahon six times now, and have even met him 4 four times! This was by far my favorite performance. His creative shows, high energy, and brilliant artistry make him one of my all-time favorite artists. If you ever have a chance to see him perform, do it! You won’t regret it.

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Photography by Dylan Novacek
Setlist
  1. Everything Must Go
  2. High Dive
  3. The Mixed Tape
  4. Ohio
  5. Love & Great Buildings
  6. The Resolution
  7. House In The Trees
  8. Island Radio
  9. This Wild Ride
  10. Punk Rock Princess
  11. Blue Vacation
  12. Me and the Moon
  13. Paper Rain
  14. Dark Blue
  15. Swim
  16. Penelope
  17. Believe (Cher Cover)
  18. So Close
  19. Teenage Rockstars
  20. I Woke Up In A Car
  21. Fire Escape
  22. Synesthesia (acoustic)
  23. MFEO (with elements of Everything Must Go)
  24. Cecelia and the Satellite

What do you think?

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Written by Dylan Novacek

Graphic designer and photographer from Saint Paul, Minnesota. Fan of mid 2000s emo, late 90s boy bands and everything in between. Recent graduate from Concordia, Saint Paul. Check out my work: https://dylannovacek.myportfolio.com/

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