Something Corporate at Club Nokia: 28 August 2010
You know those moments you want to keep to yourself for fear of making them less meaningful by divulging the details to someone else? Last night was one of those. However, it was also too good of a story not to tell.
With the line to Club Nokia wrapping around a block and a half of L.A. Live, you could feel the nervous excitement in the air. Something Corporate was finally back.
The wait was longer than usual and the crowd, despite having beers and cranberry-and-vodkas in hand, was getting antsy. As soon as the lights dimmed down, however, the grumbling immediately turned to ecstatic cheering.
Something Corporate took the stage and after a brief “what’s up, L.A?” they immediately launched into “I Woke Up in a Car.” Within seconds of finishing, singer Andrew McMahon was atop his piano singing the intro to “Hurricane.” It was evident that the evening had begun.
The band went through some fan favorites including “Drunk Girl,” “Space,” “21 & Invincible,” and “Straw Dog” which were, as always, good to hear. Looking out into the crowd, it was interesting seeing the different people there—the now-working professionals, bar flies, still-punk adults, frat guys, girls who wear heels to shows, university students, and the current high schoolers. Despite the age ranges, everyone was back as their teenage selves, jumping around like they did back in 2002 and loving every second of it.
SoCo also surprised fans with a performance of North’s b-side “Watch the Sky,” a song McMahon introduced as one of his and his father’s favorite songs. The band also broke out the slow tunes including “She Paints Me Blue,” “Walking By,” and “Cavanaugh Park,” which gave the audience a few needed breaks between party songs. The show came to a close with “Punk Rock Princess,” turning the balcony into a dance floor and sending many girls into a screaming frenzy. The band received a much deserved standing ovation.
Ten minutes after the band had walked offstage, the crowd continued clapping and cheering, both amazed and half-expectant of the encore they hoped was coming.
Soon, the stage was glowing again and the applause grew louder. McMahon walked back onstage, smiling appreciatively. After profuse thank-yous, he sat back down at the piano, still facing the audience. “It’s a long song—” he started, but was soon drowned out by screaming from the floor and balcony. We all knew what that meant. He was going to play “Konstantine,” the much beloved b-side. Within the first few moments of the piano intro, everyone in that room went absolutely silent.
The spotlight was cast over McMahon as he began crooning into the mic. It was like hearing the song for the very first time again—the story unfolding, the delicacy of the drums over of the piano, the soul in his voice. While the song was a heavy dose of nostalgia, the change in McMahon’s voice was noticeable. The borderline whining twenty-something was gone and was replaced by a more vocally-aware musician.
The encore continued with “Forget December,” “Down,” and “If U C Jordan,” bringing back the college party sound that Something Corporate is usually associated with. The last song of the evening had just about everyone standing, swaying their hips (some, drunkenly), and singing along with the angst-ridden high school anthem.
While the performance itself was brilliant, the show was beautiful in a different way. Throughout the course of the show, it was evident that the men of Something Corporate were happy to be back, not for the money or fame, but home playing gigs with their best friends again.