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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Review Mon Mar 26 2012

Review: Andrew WK @ Riviera, 3/25

Ten years ago I saw Andrew WK at Laga in Pittsburgh. Half of the crowd (those there to see Lost Prophets, mostly) had no idea what to make of him. Strange looks like "Who is this guy to have fun with metal?" and "He must be a joke" came from all corners of the room. Of course, those of us who knew what we were in for had a grand old time. People screamed the lyrics. They jumped on stage. They moshed and pogoed. A kid who sat in front of me in an Internet law class ended up on Andrew WK's shoulders. It was all great fun with a party leader who created energy for everyone else to feed from. Even some of the early scoffers jumped on the bandwagon.

Now it's 10 years later. Andrew WK's headlining the Riviera and he doesn't have to win over anybody. He can be looser with a friendly audience. Feel like playing your first album front-to-back and interrupting it to show off your classical music training with some "Rhapsody in Blue"? No problem. Need four guitarists? Sure. Get the crowd to chant "Pizza"? Why not? Like anyone at this level of success, there's not much of a challenge anymore. He still preaches about having fun and making the most out of every second alive, but there's no one in the back corner having an epiphany and thinking, "This guy's right!" Devotees dressed in his signature white t-shirt and jeans were everywhere. A girl did her makeup to mirror I Get Wet's album cover. A kid with "Party Hard" written all over a cycling cap crowdsurfed at least a half-dozen times. Only Morrissey sees more people trying to join him on stage. With that hysteria surrounding him, the energy never stops.

Andrew WK, his wife and a backing band of six churned out chunky riffs that wouldn't be out of place in hair metal, fist-pumped until they physically couldn't, encouraged circle pits that'd level towns if they were made of water instead of people and sang/screamed with tremendous gusto. (Andrew WK's a little hoarse.) A complete performance of I Get Wet (with "I Love Illinois" substituted for "I Love NYC"), clearly the highlight to most everyone in the crowd, was followed by some scattered hits from later albums. An encore of "We Want Fun" produced absolute chaos on the floor. Was it the most musically proficient show? Not exactly. But is it hard to top as far as entertainment? For sure.

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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.

Read this feature »


  Chicago Music Media

Alarm Magazine
Big Rock Candy Mountain
Boxx Magazine
Brooklyn Vegan Chicago
Can You See The Sunset From The Southside
Chicago Reader Music
Chicagoist Arts & Events
Chicago Music Guide
Chicago Singles Club
Country Music Chicago
Cream Team
Dark Jive
The Deli Chicago
Jim DeRogatis
Fake Shore Drive
Gowhere Hip Hop
The Hood Internet
Jaded in Chicago
Largehearted Boy
Little White Earbuds
Live Fix Blog
Live Music Blog
Loud Loop Press
Oh My Rockness
Pop 'stache
Pop Matters
Resident Advisor
Sound Opinions
Sun-Times Music Blog
Theft Liable to Prosecution
Tribune Music
UR Chicago
Victim Of Time
WFMU's Beware of the Blog
Windy City Rock


Abbey Pub
Andy's Jazz Club
Aragon Ballroom
Auditorium Theatre
Beat Kitchen
Bottom Lounge
Buddy Guy's Legends
The Burlington
California Clipper
Concord Music Hall
Congress Theater
Cubby Bear
Double Door
Elbo Room
Empty Bottle
Green Mill
The Hideout
Honky Tonk BBQ
House of Blues
Kingston Mines
Lincoln Hall
Logan Square Auditorium
Mayne Stage
The Mutiny
Old Town School of Folk Music
Park West
The Promontory
Red Line Tap
Reggie's Rock Club & Music Joint
The Riviera
Thalia Hall
The Shrine
Symphony Center
Tonic Room
Uncommon Ground
The Vic
The Whistler

  Labels, Promoters
  & Shops:

Alligator Records
Beverly Records
Bloodshot Records
Dave's Records
Delmark Records
Drag City
Dusty Groove
Flameshovel Records
Groove Distribution
He Who Corrupts
Jam Productions
Jazz Record Mart
Kranky Records
Laurie's Planet of Sound
Minty Fresh
Numero Group
mP Shows
Permanent Records
Reckless Records
Smog Veil Records
Southport & Northport Records
Thick Records
Thrill Jockey Records Touch & Go/Quarterstick Records
Victory Records

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Transmission is the music section of Gapers Block. It aims to highlight Chicago music in its many varied forms, as well as cover touring acts performing in the city. More...
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