Jack’s Mannequin “Farther From the Earth Tour” Hits Boston
House of Blues Boston
April 27th 2009
Last November, Jack’s Mannequin paid a visit to the Paradise Rock Club, one of Boston’s smallest and most venerable venues. On that night, Andrew McMahon and company put on a fantastic show, premiering a number of songs off their then recently released second record The Glass Passenger, while also mixing many of the favorites from their debut album, Everything in Transit. The intimate setting allowed McMahon to interact with fans throughout the night, and the crowd was as enthusiastic as any I had ever been a part of. Obviously, it would be difficult for Jack’s Mannequin to top this performance on their next trip back to Boston, which took place at the House of Blues, a venue nearly four times the sizes of the Paradise. Somehow, the band, as well as the crowd, found a way.
The night began with a half an hour set up-and-comer Erin McCarley, who was well received by the sell-out crowd that had already packed the venue. McCarley chatted with the crowd between songs and finished her set with “Pony (It’s OK),” which has received recent airplay on radio and VH1.
Next up was Matt Nathanson, the Lexington, Mass. native who has seen a great deal of success with his recent hit single “Come On Get Higher.” While most of his songs were met with casual head bobs from the crowd, it was Nathanson’s R-rated banter between songs that was the highlight of his set. From calling out a group of drunk frat boys on the balcony to comparing one of his songs to “the scene where the guy carries the girl up the tree in Twighlight,” Nathanson had the crowd in stitches for most of his set. The highlight wasn’t “Come on Get Higher,” but a song that sounded like Rick Springfield’s “Jesse’s Girl.” Nathanson began the song by saying he had stolen it from Springfield and changed the lyrics, and was likely to segue into “Jesse’s Girl” at some point, at which time the audience better sing along. Once he got to this point, most in the audience were happy to oblige. Overall, Nathanson put on a thoroughly entertaining set by making a connection with his hometown crowd, something that very few artists do well.
After a short 20 minute wait, the headliners appeared and began their set with “Crashin,” which received a luke warm reception that luckily wasn’t an indication of what the rest of the set would entail. Beginning with “The Mixed Tape,” McMahon, along with guitarist Bob Anderson, bassist Jonathan Sullivan, and drummer Jay McMillan put on one of the better performances I’ve seen in quite a while.
Most responsible for this was of course the band itself, which displayed a seemingly unlimited supply of energy throughout the night. When McMahon wasn’t pounding away at his piano, we was either on top of it, or working the crowd into a frenzy. Which brings me to the group second most responsible for the show’s success. The crowd, from the front row, to the balcony, to the back of the floor at the cavernous venue sang each and every word, sometimes even drowning out McMahon himself. The crystal clear sound at the House of Blues made for a huge improvement sound wise over their previous show at the Paradise, and the band’s light display, which included “confetti” produced by a huge spinning disco ball, created quite the visual spectacle.
While I normally like to take note of which songs sounded the best or received the biggest reception from the crowd, I can’t do that for this show, because almost every song would fall into the “amazing” category. If I had to choose two though, I would say “Bloodshot” and “I’m Ready” were the highlights of the show. The band would also include “Me and The Moon” from McMahon’s former band Something Corporate in the set, as well full versions of “MFEO/You Can Breath” and “Caves,” both of which allowed McMahon’s songwriting and showmanship skills to shine. The set was ended with “The Resolution,” and “I’m Ready,” both of which had the crowd in a state of near hysteria.
After a very short time off stage, the band returned for a two song encore, featuring “Hammer’s and Strings,” a song McMahon dedicated to his friends. The show then came to a climatic end with “La La Lie,” just as the show at the Paradise had five months earlier. The crowd left the venue and streamed out on to Lansdowne Street elated by what they had just experienced. This was my third time seeing the band in the past year, and I can honestly say they are one of the best live acts in the business today.
The Mixted Tape
Holiday From Real
Me and the Moon
MFEO/You Can Breath
Hammers and Strings
La La Lie