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Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness with Michigander and Wildermiss

The Uptown Theater in Minneapolis was a well-loved movie theater for almost 100 years before it closed during the height of the COVID pandemic in 2020. After changing ownership and going through a renovation period, the building reopened earlier this year as a live event venue. Uptown Theater was the perfect choice for Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness during his stop on the “New Friends” tour. With a capacity of 1,700 fans, the venue setting was intimate and the set design magical.

Wildermiss, an indie three-piece band from Denver, opened the evening and set the tone for a fun night ahead. Made up of vocalist and synth player Emma Cole, guitarist Joshua Hester, and drummer Caleb Thoemke, their sweet vocals were mixed with gritty tones and got the venue dancing. Cole embraced the present moment as she bantered with bandmates and whipped her head to the beat. Wildermiss released their debut full-length album Levitate during this tour, and they played several songs off of it including, “Choice,” “I’m Okay,” “Decay,” and “Identify It!,” which is about finding who you are and expressing it. They also played songs off of their previous EPs such as “Sea In My Tea,” a piano-driven ballad based on the 70’s animated film The Point.

Michigander took the stage next. Jason Singer, the band’s founder and vocalist, had an endearing personality that charmed and entertained the crowd. Singer was clearly just as excited to be there as the crowd was, saying that Minneapolis had always been kind to his band and that the city feels like a second home to them. Michigander played hits off their most recent album Let Down, including “Superglue” and “Let Down,” as well as a cover of Dierks Bentley’s “Walking Each Other Home.” The juxtaposition of Singer’s raspy voice with his sincere lyrics made Michigander’s set impossible to ignore.

The crowd was more than ready for Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, who’s set design and crew members leaned in to the “in the Wilderness” theme complete with tent, campfire and lanterns. He entered the theater from the back, walking through the crowd singing “Nobody Tells You When You’re Young,” followed by a crew member wearing a bear suit and holding a lantern. The audience couldn’t get enough of his self-deprecating humor and stories throughout the night, and laughed along when his bandmates crawled into the tent onstage and made shadow puppets while he sang ‘Rainy Girl’. McMahon brought a lot of energy to the set that the audience couldn’t help but reciprocate back to him.

When he wasn’t riding across the crowd in his iconic inflatable llama, he was bantering with the crowd and jumping on top of his piano in a light-up cape. McMahon’s other bands include Jack’s Mannequin and Something Corporate, and he made sure to include a few hits from their discographies in the setlist. Fans were delighted to hear “Crashin,” “Dark Blue,” and “Konstantine,” as well as early solo hits like “Cecilia and the Satellite,” and “Halls.” The night culminated with him bringing both the openers back on stage to sing his new song “New Friends” with him and it was clear that over the course of the tour they had become just that. The New Friends tour ends on December 16 in Seattle.

Wildermiss

Michigander

Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness

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