29th January 2011

Of all the artists strewn across the many festival lineups of the Australian summer, Andrew WK is one of the most interesting. Constantly devoted to his message of simply ‘Party Hard”, his last tour to Australia was him playing along to his songs on an Ipod, and even then, it was captivating. In 2011 he returned with a full band line up; including a female ‘party hard’ mascot (his wife – Cherie Lily) who was almost as unforgiving in her hard partying ways as Andrew.

But before the party started, the crowd was greeted by Barbariön. A seven piece metal band who, surprisingly enough, dressed as barbariöns and sang about being barbariöns. At the front of stage they used a skull as a smoke machine and weren’t opposed to using flames to emphasise their show. It was thoroughly entertaining, the riffs were large, tapping solos were played with no restraint. When the band announced they were covering an Iron Maiden song, they were met with thundering applause. Barbarian did everything right by the crowd, it’s a rare band who can muster such an overwhelming response as a support band; Barbariön did just that.

Whilst the guitar techs were rushing around stage getting everything ready for Andrew WK, the crowd was growing increasingly impatient. They were here intent on ‘partying’. In fact, the chant of “party!” seemed to fill the entire room. The band entered the stage, riffing hard before Andrew jumped into the stage and unleashed a relentless assault of distorted happiness which didn’t let up for the entire set. If you’re looking for diversity, or a polished live show, Andrew WK isn’t for you. If you’re looking to party; hard, Andrew WK is your man. He moves around the stage like a man possessed, offering up a manic cross between the robot and an epileptic seizure as his dance of choice. He strikes odd poses between songs, seemingly dislocates his shoulder as one of his key moves? The sound levels weren’t amazing, often at times Andrew’s voice was lost beneath the sea of distortion, but it didn’t matter so much. It’s amazing to see such brutal, distorted music played with a grin from ear to ear.

The crowd were having themselves a great time as well, stage diving and crowd surfing were regular events, and requests from Andrew to “party fucking hard!” or “go fucking crazy!” were met with gusto. It looks like Andrew WK has the time of his life on stage, playing a manic, relentless, optimistic happy-metal prophet. His message is simple, it’s loud, and by god, it makes you want to fucking party. Hard.

Alastair Matcott