Postcards from the Pit: Andrew WK / Team Spirit, Irving Plaza, 12/31/13

My first post of the new year goes to my last concert of the old year and/or first concert of the new year: Andrew WK and Team Spirit at Irving Plaza.

The night began with punk rock heavy metal karaoke – live band, audience participation – which was more sublime than ridiculous, due mostly to the assembled crowd, which included multiple generations of headbangers, punks, and miscellaneous People In Black as well as others who had come down to capital-P Party with Andrew WK.

I was there because, frankly, 2013 was kind of shit, and Andrew WK – in many ways heavy metal’s holy fool – is about fun in an uncomplicated way that I find very attractive. And that was how I wanted to start 2014, with uncomplicated fun.

But back to karaoke. There were a lot of beautiful moments: the dude in the Lil Bub hoodie who led us in a sober, stirring rendition of War Pigs; the girl who grabbed Oh Bondage Up Yours! by the throat and made it her own; the girl and the guy who led a gleeful sing-along of Fight For Your Right to Party; the last dude, who slammed through Communication Breakdown like he did it every day. They were all rock stars, and I have the pictures to prove it.

The first band was Team Spirit, who I mostly enjoyed, though their set started to drag a little bit towards the end.


And then, as midnight approached, Andrew WK’s band slowly began to appear:

There was a countdown, and at the end, the clock and year flipped over, Andrew WK walked out and the pit went bananas. All pictures after this juncture were taken while I was being moshed into the barrier and/or during lulls in crowd surfers. Make no mistake: it was a hot, sweaty action-packed good time and I enjoyed myself thoroughly, but I was glad I had that barrier to cling to.

After the final encore, as the band was walking off, the crowd the started chanting Thank you, Andrew, which surprised me, and made me wonder if his pit does that all the time, or just on special occasions. In any case, then and now, I echo the sentiment. Thank you, Andrew WK, for dropping us into 2014 on a tide of sweaty enthusiasm, grace and the simple but beautiful pleasure of jumping up and down and banging our heads.

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