Jack’s Mannequin – Cricket Wireless Amphitheater 7.28.9 Chris Dier
I originally planned to attend this show with my teenage daughter because she is a fan of Jack’s Mannequin, but at the last minute she decided she would rather send daddy off on this escapade alone. This rejection resulted in me, a 34 year old wearing jeans, a hoodie, and a white baseball cap to hide my ever expanding cul-de-sac, sitting very uncomfortably amongst melodramatic, fluorescent, skinny-legged teens.
As the opening act began, a poppy four-piece band named Vedera, I began to take note. I knew my daughter expected a blow-by-blow account of the evening. I know, I know, I can’t figure teens out either. So, rather than try to make up something impressive about Jack’s Mannequin, I decided I would retell the evening, as I did with my daughter the next morning.
HBD (daughter): Sooo! Tell me everything!
CPD (me): Well, it was entertaining.
HBD: What does that mean?
CPD: It means that I was entertained. That lead singer dude, “Jack,” he puts on quite the performance.
HBD: You mean Andrew McMahon? The piano player?
CPD: Yeah, that dude.
HBD: What song did he play first?
CPD: I couldn’t tell you. But I know he played that “Fuck Yeah” song…
HBD: Holiday From Real?
CPD: Yeah. Everyone was singing along to that one, like it was an anthem. And they played that other song, LA, LA, LA?
HBD: You mean, La, La, Lie?
CPD: Yeah. It sounded kind of cool, almost like a Beach Boys song. Jack, Andrew was rocking the harmonica in the spotlight and all the little girls were screaming.
HBD: I’ll bet he was hot.
CPD: Harmonicas are hot? You need to clam yourself down.
HBD: What else did they play?
CPD: That one you were talking about, the one with the new video, Swim? That was a solid song. It swelled and moved like water.
HBD: Like water? You need to calm yourself down now.
CPD: What? The guitar effects, clapped drums all had a cool vibe. The audience loved it at least. But to be honest, there weren’t many people there. I remember at Mayhem festival, the place was packed and electric. Even at the Paramore/No Doubt show, the lawn was flooded with sing alongs. But no one was on the lawn. It felt empty.
HBD: Whatever. You just don’t like Jack’s Mannequin.
CPD: That’s not it at all. I mean, I’m not going sync a bunch of their music to my iPod any time soon, but that doesn’t mean I hated the show. It was just a show. Uninspiring, anemic, and monotonous. Every song lead to a smug, one-handed piano solo leaving the rest of the band to drone along. Jack was putting on a show, almost for himself.
HBD: I thought you said you liked his performance?
CPD: No, I said he puts on quite the performance and that I was entertained. I didn’t say I liked it. It was all about Jack, not about good music. If I wanted to get up and dance, this would have been the perfect place. If I wanted to watch MTV, this would have substituted perfectly. But I look for more in music…
HBD: Whatever. You just don’t understand.
CPD: Ah, I told you.