Pianist/vocalist Andrew McMahon has spent the last 15 years in the spotlight with his beloved bands Something Corporate and Jack’s Mannequin, but recently decided to start recording under his own name. Still, the veteran performer knows exactly how to balance all facets of his musical life: The 30-year-old’s first-ever solo show in Cleveland last night at the Grog Shop was a celebratory, career-spanning storytelling session.
To the delight of the sold-out crowd—which sang along, shrieked in delight and pumped their fists enthusiastically to nearly every song—the 19-song-set touched on the early-’00s emo-pop of Something Corporate (the Ben Folds Five-esque “Me and the Moon,” power-pop gem “Watch The Sky,” wistful “Woke Up In A Car”) and the more mature rock of Jack’s Mannequin (“Holiday From Real,” shoulda-been-a-hit “The Resolution,” slinky “What Gets You Off”). Other highlights included the SoCo rock rager “If You C Jordan” and the Jack’s rarity “Keep Rising,” as well as an encore rendition of the epic piano-heavy ballad “Konstantine,” a fan-favorite McMahon only recently started playing live.
McMahon’s backing band (which included drummer Jay McMillan and bassist Mike Wagner, both of Jack’s Mannequin) never overpowered his expressive vocals or evocative piano. In fact, their presence helped guide the new McMahon solo songs “Synesthesia” and “Learn To Dance,” both of which featured electronic flourishes and synthesizers.