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Tuesday, January 31

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Review Sat Jan 28 2012

Review: Jack's Mannequin @ HOB, 1/25

I've already scrapped what I had written for this review twice. I started writing my first draft about Jack's Mannequin's frontman Andrew McMahon, where he's come since his years fronting Something Corporate nearly a decade ago and his effect on the Drive-Thru Records generation. Not long after I decided to start over, I came across this article, written just one day after I saw Jack's Mannequin play at House of Blues on Wednesday and took it as a sign that surely I'm not the only one that still remembers the golden era of pop punk.

20120125-Jacks Mannequin_10.jpg

Photo by Steve Stearns

Much like many of the bands that came from the same beginnings as McMahon--Dashboard Confessional, New Found Glory, Midtown--I can't help but feel that Jack's Mannequin has been overlooked because their California-sun-kissed songs' appeal to a polo-wearing, lite-beer-drinking college crowd. But as I watched Andrew McMahon--who's fronted two successful bands, written five albums, toured the world over before his 30th birthday and survived a bout with leukemia--on stage the other night, it's hard to think that he's not doing something right.

McMahon looked more comfortable than ever behind the keys on Wednesday--Jack's second of a two-night run at HOB. Guitarist Bobby Anderson's, an overlap from the Something Corporate years, sounds and backing vocals seemed like a stronger presence than I've seen during past performances. The band seemed more cohesive than ever. It's clear McMahon and his crew have gained more than success from their years in the game. They've gained maturity.

20120125-Jacks Mannequin_9.jpg

Photo by Steve Stearns

Jack's Mannequin has an admittedly thicker pop sheen than McMahon's previous piano rock group. Some would take this to mean that this new brand has less of an "edge," but that's hardly the case. Set list choices like "I'm Ready" and "What Gets You Off" are visibly challenging both musically and vocally, and yet the band never wavered.

Even songs off Jack's most recent album People and Things--a rock album that's poppier production style left it feeling a bit "blah"--sounded richer and more full-bodied in a live setting. I was especially pleased to hear the record's standout track "Amy, I"--a song that McMahon admitted the band had skipped on their first night in Chicago.

20120125-Jacks Mannequin_15.jpg

Photo by Steve Stearns

Despite the...err...boisterous and youthful crowd at Wednesday night's show, tender moments like McMahon's encore performance of "Swim" sans band still showed through. It's been a long ride for McMahon, but it's I'm glad to have been along.

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

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