"Think of this as the New Year's Eve to the rest of your hardcore, party-filled life!."
Going to a party full of strangers without knowing a single person there is not something this reviewer does very often. But as soon as someone grabs your arm and yells, "Are YOU ready to fuckin' party?" with genuine excitement, all fears are laid to rest as you realise that everyone is already friends at an Andrew WK show.
Like the entrance of a medieval king or the beginning of a battle, a ceremonial trumpet announced the entrance of WK to Melbourne's Corner Hotel. Dressed exactly as you'd imagine and with a five-piece band of professional headbangers in tow, WK dove headfirst into the new album single, Music Is Worth Living For. One song in and the crowd are already screaming along to every inspirational lyric with a variety of dramatic hand gestures. No warm-up songs are needed for this lot.
Standing at the centre of the stage and smashing away at his keyboard like a character from that band in The Muppets, WK's Jim Steinman-esque playing makes you wonder how mainstream audiences ever got sick of piano-rock in the first place. After a few more songs from 2018's warmly received You're Not Alone, WK takes things back to 2001 with the hits of I Get Wet. Originally written off as a moronic novelty album by critics, the absolute staying power of that LP is obvious considering the number of fans who chose to bloody their noses tonight in tribute to its cover.
WK's lead guitarist Erik Payne handles most of the death metal screams that dirty these major-key tunes. With two other guitarists and a bass player, the band's wall of sound is very much critical to hammering the bizarre sentiments of these songs into listeners' brains. We certainly wouldn't all be moshing to a song about masturbation if it was just WK and his piano after all.
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But with solo instrumental pieces acting as interludes between many of tonight's songs, WK proves that a piano recital can party just as hard as a rock show if you've got enough chops. "I will now play a guitar shaped like a slice of pizza," announces WK, speaking like a surgeon in an operating theatre, before he busts out a cover of Children Of The Grave by Black Sabbath. "This is the best day of my life!" screams one bloke.
With the clock edging closer to 1am as the night goes on, many begin to wonder when it will be time to really Party Hard. "Melbourne, I'm not through with you yet!" WK screams. "I'm gonna count down from 100 before this last song, and I want you to join me. Think of this as the New Year's Eve to the rest of your hardcore, party-filled life!" During the epic countdown before the finale of Party Hard, one punter turned to his mate and pondered, "If this is Andrew WK in the middle of August, I wonder what he's like on the actual New Year's Eve!"
The answer? He'd be exactly the same. And that's why he's the King of Partying.