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More than just a side project

Jack's Mannequin
Blender Theater
New York, NY
Nov. 22, 2008
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Story and photos by Kate Seesholtz

Jack's Mannequin played the last official night of their 'Hammers and Strings' tour in New York City Saturday evening at the Blender Theater, the second night of sold out shows. The band, a side project of Something Corporate's lead singer Andrew McMahon, presented songs from their newest studio release, The Glass Passenger, as well as crowd favorites from their first album, Everything In Transit.

As temperatures dropped below freezing outside, McMahon got the crowd going with "What Get's You Off?" billed as a "sexy song about sex, a good thing to do on this cold night." He also used the show as an opportunity to showcase seldom played songs, including the unreleased "Hey, Hey, Hey, We're All Gonna Die." McMahon tried to connect with the audience as much as possible during the almost two hour long set. At one point he even climbed onto the barriers separating the crowd, as fans swiftly rushed the stage to get even an inch closer to their piano playing idol.

One reason Jack's Mannequin has enjoyed a steadily growing fan base is the honesty McMahon gives to his songs. As a preface to the hit, "Swim," he explained that in the middle of making The Glass Passenger, he suffered a "crisis of confidence." The song encouraged him to go on, something the mostly teenage audience seemed to readily relate to. It's important to note that only three years ago McMahon was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. He has since made a full recovery, but it's not a topic he often discusses. Saturday seemed to be an exception; he prefaced his song "Caves" by thanking his fans for their continued support of what he called the Dear Jack Foundation, which this year raised over 100,000 dollars for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

While it would be easy to say that Andrew McMahon is a little eccentric (action figures lined the amps and he twice scaled the piano to toss paper airplanes into the anxious crowd) he and the rest of the band definitely know how to win over any crowd. From the crowd sing-a-long on "Dark Blue" to the heart wrenching calm that he drew while he spoke of his illness, McMahon showed that Jack's Mannequin is more than just a side project.

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