Most people my age will probably be more familiar with Andrew McMachon’s project Jack’s Mannequin instead of his first band Something Corporate.
Something Corporate, the alternative rock/piano rock band fronted by Andrew McMahon on piano and vocals, with Josh Partington on guitar, bassist Kevin Page and drummer Brian Ireland. The band took over early 2000s with its powerful piano and heartfelt lyrics, it broken a lot of hearts when the band announced their hiatus in 2005. When they announced their reunion show at the Bamboozle Festivals, longtime fans were beyond ecstatic to see their favourite songs that marked their teenage years being performed again.
The one month reunion tour kicked off on August 2nd in Minnesota and came through to the only non-US date in Toronto on August 7th at the Kool Haus. (Interestingly enough, Snoop Dogg was playing at The Guvernment next door). It was definitely not a show to miss, as the band might not ever tour together again. (Though, never say never, since the reunion is happening!) With no opening bands, the night was entirely a Something Corporate show. Doors opened at 7:30pm and SoCo promptly came on at 9pm, the long delay remains a mystery as there was only SoCo playing. When the lights were dimming, the crowd was chanting “SoCo” with heavy enthusiasm, getting everyone in the place hyped up for the reunion they are about to witness.
The band played a collection of everything and classic jams including “Straw Dog”, “Cavanaugh Park”, “Drunk Girl”, “Ruthless”, “Only Ashes”, “21 & Invincible” and many more. During “She Paints Me Blue”, Andrew McMahon pleasingly changed part of the lyric “Atlanta started raining on me” to “Toronto started raining on me”, which gained some excited cheers from the fans.
SoCo also played an acoustic version of “Wait”, a new song from the band’s greatest hits album entitled “Played In Space”. With Josh Partington on the acoustic guitar and Andrew McMahon sitting in his piano chair singing into the mic, he didn’t hit the keys until halfway into the song. It was a very different experience with a focus on the guitar instead of the powerful piano notes that are always present in the SoCo songs.
The band closed off the set with “Punk Rock Princess” before hitting the encore starting with “Konstantine”, which is a very popular song in its own special way. Even Andrew McMahon addressed it, “the mystery of songwriting is you never know when there’s gonna be one that’s gonna connect a bigger level. It’s funny..this song might as well have its own zip code or something, because we never officially put it out… it was on some samplers and places but uh… It’s really been a song for the people.” It is undeniably a very beautiful song and even more powerful when it’s played live. Most fans were looking forward to that moment for so long and cameras were raised to record the 10 minute piano ballad.
The final song was “iF yoU C Jordan”, a very “bitter anthem” about high school rivalry. The crowd was screaming back “fuck you Jordan, you make me sick”, the song came out in 2002 and it really sets the crowd back to reminisce their high school days. Remarkably, Andrew McMahon served his usual piano antics and jumped on the piano, hitting the keys with his feet for the grand finale.
I have seen Jack’s Mannequin a few times and their live performance never disappoint so I was expecting the same for Something Corporate. Yet, the two are a whole lot different despite sharing the same frontman and the noted grand piano. Something Corporate’s music is definitely more fun with an edge to it – after all, they were written way back eh.
Text and photos by Jessie Lau