Andrew W.K. w/ Calder Quartet | 11.15

By: Joe Dahlstrom

Andrew W.K. :: 11.15.08 :: Le Poisson Rouge :: New York, NY

Andrew W.K.
I was looking for something to do, and came across a show in the Village Voice that struck my curiosity. Andrew W.K., a popular hard rock party musician, was advertised to be playing at Le Poisson Rouge, a jazz/classical music lounge in the heart of Greenwich Village, with the Calder String Quartet. Curious to see Andrew W.K., who was declared a musical prodigy at an early age, I decided that I would brave the cover charge and drink minimums to see something new.

I approached Le Poisson Rouge and received interesting looks from the bouncers, as I found out that I was heavily underdressed, in pants and a sweatshirt, soaked by the rain, as opposed to the typical jazz lounge attire. I found a nice table in the corner with a good view of the piano and prepared myself for what looked like either a great success or great disaster.

As the show opened with what was listed on the program as "Let Us Get Physical," I heavily contemplated leaving, as it was almost too avant-garde and minimalist for my taste. However, I was immediately happy that I stayed through the introductory piece for the second song, performed by The Calder Quartet without AWK's help. Titled "Interface" (composed by Tristan Perich), it was a piece that the string quartet played with a four channel 1-bit MIDI pattern. I could not help but be astounded by a string quartet using such an innovation.

The next song, "Brandenburg Hey Hey Hey" was W.K.'s rendition of J.S. Bach's baroque piece that was interrupted by multiple "Hey's" over the PA. Andrew then made the abrupt transition from baroque to a party anthem with only one strong "Hey!"

The Calder Quartet's next selection was played with an electronic stringed instrument affectionately called "Bot(i)Cello." This piece, titled "Honey Flyers" (composed by Christine Southworth) was an absolutely beautiful song reminiscent of a combination of God Is An Astronaut mixed with the Tosca Tango Orchestra's Waking Life soundtrack, with huge dramatic breaks and patterns that drew out the beauty of these "Honey Flyers."

After a short intermission, The Calder Quartet played another track, also beautiful, but not as dynamic nor interesting as Southworth's "Flyers." Next, AWK played an improvisational set with Bot(i)Cello, which showcased three things: W.K.'s talent, his sense of humor and his complete contrast to the usual crowd at Le Poisson Rouge.

Andrew W.K.
Finally, the moment I was waiting for (along with about half the audience) arrived. Andrew's set of original party music, but played on piano with the string quartet. "I Get Wet" came first, and seemed mostly as a sing-a-long for the party crowd that came to see what AWK was up to with this new project. His ever-popular anthem "Party Hard" was next and was absolutely as enticing and beautiful as it was energetic. Appropriately, "I Love New York City" was next, and it followed suit as a group sing-fest, as with most Andrew W.K. songs. Lastly, Andrew played a song called "Dance Party" and offered an invitation to all of us to come to the stage and dance with him as he ran around, banging his drum and offering us a chance to sing the chorus into the microphone.

The last song of the show was a beautiful rendition of John Cage's "4'33"." I call it beautiful because of the affect it had on the audience. About half of the crowd knew the point of the silent piece. However, it was quite obvious that the typical Andrew W.K. party crowd was unsure what to think, as they shouted and chanted for more.

All in all, it was an entirely satisfying show and I hope Andrew W.K. continues to do this. This was truly a night to break stereotypes and was definitely a new experience for all present.

Andrew W.K. "I Get Wet" - 11.15.08 - Le Poisson Rouge

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[Published on: 12/3/08]

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Parsonsgoggles star Wed 12/3/2008 05:12PM
-1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Did Andrew WK know his nose was bleeding when he posed for that picture?

Better yet, why would Jambase use this picture????

Fratagonia starstarstarstar Wed 12/3/2008 05:48PM
-1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Joe, sounds like ya got to peep quite an acoustic auditory avalanche. Thanks fo tha write up and vid.

Hotchkiss starstarstarstarstar Wed 12/3/2008 06:48PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


super rad awesome!!!! i couldn't stand this guy when i first heard of him. but upon seeing some interviews and what have you i began to like him. very talented young man.

garrettgsell star Thu 12/4/2008 06:14AM
-2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


I Get Wet stands up there with Dylan originals as one of the greatest songs ever written. Genius.

gratefullybred starstarstarstarstar Thu 12/4/2008 06:32AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


i saw andrew wk a few years ago, and left the show soaking wet in other peoples sweat, because we were all rocking out so hard. one of the best/most fun shows ive ever been to.

Dr. Funkenstein Thu 12/4/2008 08:44AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Dr. Funkenstein

cool. AWK's Japanese import only album, Close Calls With Brick Walls, is absolutely awesome if you can find it. if you can find it......

scisam Thu 12/4/2008 10:38AM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Many many years ago at Warped Tour it started pouring down rain and a bunch of bands refused to play, but Andrew W.K. was in the rain meeting fans and signing is so so but you gotta respect that.

Jambizzle Thu 12/4/2008 11:15AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

This dude is the trashiest mofo on the planet. like a dingy dog, he seems to be just hangin around.

Flat5 Thu 12/4/2008 09:15PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


I don't understand, but often that's a good thing.

MyFavBandIsTheBestYoursSucks Fri 12/5/2008 11:41AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Im not sure, but I think this guy likes to party?

By the way that picture is an album cover, cant remember the name, but I have it.