By Sam Cutbush,
Tonight's live music at the Wedgewood Rooms comes from Andrew WK, probably best known to the layman from Top Of The Pops circa 2001 and the Jackass the Movie soundtrack.
Yonaka are the support. They bring a big sound, with hints of heavier wolf Alice and a little Skunk Anansie. They look battle-hardened, yet fresh-faced. I wonder what they were doing 17 years ago when Andrew WK was on Top of The Pops?
Speaking of which, as the stage is being set up for the headline act, a wave of youthful excitement washes over the wedge crowd. A crowd which has an average age of around 32-34, who would have also no doubt seen the utterly unforgettable version of Party Hard on TOTP.
Keyboard player starts off with "PARTY PARTY PARTY" building to a piece of music fit for an epic movie trailer, and then, darkness...
The band is now on stage, and a solitary kick drum precedes a wailing guitar to bring on Andrew WK. He’s a raging ball of energy, and whips the crowd up into a frenzy from the word go. The dancing and jumping is becoming more and more widespread as we go, so spare a thought for the poor guy carrying 3 beers into an area that is now essentially a mosh pit... "This round's on me..." - Literally.
Things are kicked up a gear again when Andrew announces: "It's not just a Portsmouth party, it's a PORTSMOUTH PIZZA PARTY!!" before producing a guitar with a body in the shape of a slice of everyone’s favourite Italian food. He then launches into what I can only describe as a "Brian May-esque guitar solo, and you’re reminded he’s an outstanding multi-instrumentalist.
Maybe it's the keyboards and theatrics, but I get a little Meatloaf vibe from Mr WK as the band hurtles through the set like they'll never get to play it again. The energy is fired out into the crowd who in turn give it back to Andrew and his team. Every song powers along like the show-stopping finale to a set, and it's been that way from song 1! Atop an iceberg of rock and metal sits a message of positivity to all who have hurdles to overcome. He is a motivational speaker after all.
Stylistically not a lot has changed, he could have walked onto the stage right out of 2001 for all we know, and that's fine with all of us! This is a rock opera to inspire and uplift from, it has to be said, a very talented composer and arranger in Andrew WK. He’s delivered an amazing show full of fun and memories. For example, the whole of the Wedge passionately chanting "Twiglets! Twiglets!" Is something that will stay with me forever. (Watch the video)
I’ve been blown away tonight, as have the whole of the Wedge, and whoever books acts there needs to get Andrew WK back, so we can Party Hard all over again!