Hyper, interactive anarchy
Andrew WK - Live At Manchester Academy

After the release of ‘I Get Wet’ back in 2001 Andrew WK has been a confused soul. Regarded as a novelty character across the pond, he’s made a name for himself through MTV shows and weather reports (over 700,000 views on YouTube!). Yet for many music fans here in the UK he’s an elusive figure who disappeared after a one hit wonder. Unlike many though, WK didn’t fail at the second hurdle, but vanished among lawsuits and rumours. He was seen as a blast from the past – until a string of motivational concerts and a bizarre piano album plucked him from the abyss.

Now ten years on he’s back to perform ‘I Get Wet’ in its entirety. Tonight’s gig has not only sold out but also upgraded venue because of the sheer WK demand. As the room fills with testosterone, a third of the audience brandish blood stained t-shirts – only outshone by a five foot ‘We Get Wet!’ banner.

Sweat fills the air as the drum kick pounds, and each band member pogos onstage like a kids TV show. Then ‘I Get Wet’ becomes forty-five minutes of power-charged novelty, hyper, interactive anarchy.

‘It’s Time To Party’ builds until WK himself jumps onstage, fist pumping so fast his white blur seeps into the manic crowd. Then with the statement, “When it’s time to party we will party hard” the crowd explodes, collectively chanting each riff like their own national anthem. Bodies sprawl as WK darts from left to right – the ringmaster of his own mob.

Each song goes with a flicker – ‘She Is Beautiful’, ‘Party Till You Puke’ and ‘Ready To Die’ – each a slight variation on the last. It’s no secret WK’s repertoire is limited, but does he know how to throw a party. Audience members are invited to get rid of anything “restricting the party” before they’re flung into a world of fist pumping and concussion-induced head banging.

WK himself remains someone endearing and simultaneously terrifying. Grinning manically like an Aphex Twin video extra he pounds out complex piano solos with ease, jumping from the drum kit to pizza shaped guitars with the stamina of a Duracell bunny. His positive outlook also surprisingly never wears thin. “This is the biggest party we’ve had in Manchester for at least the last ten years!” He exclaims before introducing ‘Ready To Die’.

But all parties have to come to an end, and his fans are tested as material from The Wolf turns his heavy honky-tonk anthems into a bizarre rock opera. Yet it’s WK’s energy that keeps us hanging on, as fans burst onto the stage creating a sea of Andrew WK lookalikes dripping with sweat.

Always great for a sound bite WK points to the crowd and with a cold stare states, “You will remember tonight.”

As we’re left smiling, looking up YouTube footage of the gig the next day we can’t help but agree – even if it means waiting another decade to party hard.

Words by Ruth Offord
Photo by Andy Cook

Click here for a photo gallery of the gig.

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