Photos + Review: Andrew Mcmahon in the Wilderness @ Uptown Theater (Minneapolis, MN)

Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness (Los Angeles, CA), Michigander (Michigan), Wildermiss (Denver, CO)
December 9th, 2023
Uptown Theatre in Minneapolis, MN

Even after doing this concert photography thing for the better part of a decade (blows my mind as I write that out that it’s been that long already), it still has a knack of keeping itself fresh with new experiences. This time around it was getting to see a band for the first time with Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, and in a newly renovated venue for the first time – Uptown Theater.

I only got to see one movie while the Uptown Theater was still a movie theater, but if you were to blindfold me and put me in this new space, I would have never been able to tell that it’s the same space. Ever since it was announced I was excited to see a show there, as I will always be a proponent of new spaces for music. As soon as I went in I was impressed with the space. It looked like there were a lot of people there already when we arrived, but to my pleasure it didn’t feel packed in an oversold type of manner that some other shows I’ve been to more recently have felt. Walkways were manageable and I was able to get around to new vantage points for my photos with relative ease.

The look of the place was gorgeous. I loved the exposed bricks throughout, and especially the big Uptown letters on the right hand wall. I love venues that include items that make their space them and easily identifiable. After scouring the venue throughout the night, I didn’t really find any bad vantage points. A couple of my favorite shows I’ve ever been to have been in Chicago at Conchord Music Hall in Chicago, and one of my very first thoughts when entering Uptown was that it feels like our very own version of that venue. 

Uptown Theater seemed to be the perfect venue for a band and artist like Andrew McMahon. Always busy and always creating music, whether it’s Jack’s Mannequin and Something Corporate, and now Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, this tour was billed as the New Friends tour, and that energy was shown, culminating near the end of Andrew’s set when he brought out the members of the opening bands Michigander and Wildermiss. This night also seemed to be a family affair, with plenty of kids getting in on the fun, one wearing the same light up rainbow cape that Andrew wore near the beginning of the set.

It was a real mish mash of songs throughout Andrew’s career, about half being from his current solo work, and the other half being covers (technically, I guess?) from Jack’s Mannequin and Something Corporate. One of those “covers” being a chorus’ worth of Konstantine, a fan favorite and apparently the bro’s favorite as they cheered loudly afterwards, leading to Andrew remarking “It’s always the bros.” 

Another moment of fun came up with the Wilderness part of the band’s name being fully utilized as Andrew donned a raincoat and the rest of the band went inside a tent on stage during the song “Hurricane.” While Andrew played on his piano a light went on in the tent, and someone started doing shadow puppets, mimicking Andrew’s singing and piano playing when he wasn’t turned around and looking.

Favorite moments of the night were seeing “Dark Blue” and “I Woke Up In A Car,” obviously because those are by far the songs I was most familiar with. Seeing them played live was a treat. But “La La Lie” and “Cecilia and the Satellite” both became new favorites. Andrew going out on his inflatable llama to get to the bar on the other side of the room definitely played into “La La Lie” being more memorable.

I love a good fun show and it certainly seemed like the rest of the crowd were having the time of their lives. What a great first impression of both Uptown Theater and Andrew McMahon (for me). I’m definitely left excited for my next show of each.

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