Review: Jack’s Mannequin captivates with new and old

By Jessica Leach, Muse Staff Writer

Jack’s Mannequin, a Myspace-era pop/rock band, returned to Boston last Friday to perform at the House of Blues as a part of their world tour, promoting their newest album People and Things, released in October.

It was a sold out show, just as many of their upcoming tour dates are, and served as a platform to join the new and the old. Or, for some, it served as a blast to the past, where middle school/high school days were excitedly revisited.

The show was opened by two acts, Allen Stone and Jukebox the Ghost, the former with a half-hour set of modern soul/funk music, the latter with an hour of a more Jack’s Mannequin-esque pop/punk/rock performance.

Andrew McMahon, Jack’s Mannequin’s front man who’s also known for his work with the band Something Corporate and his public battle with leukemia, was a force on the stage. Predominantly a pianist, McMahon did not let his energy sit on the edge of the ivory keys. He and the band played an impressive 20-song set, three of which were encores.

Many of the songs McMahon and the gang chose to perform, such as “Bloodshot,” required more physicality from them, and McMahon fulfilled this by jumping around on his piano, or on the other end of the stage, or by asking the crowd to participate by waving their arms back and forth at his command.

Though the crowd was relatively mellow, everyone responded eagerly to each song, and most could sing along to every single word. It might be because McMahon writes his lyrics about what is relatable to this demographic – his odes to the adolescent struggle easily captivated a crowd full of teenagers (or those just recently out of teenage hood).

“I wrote this song when I was in a tough spot, and it helped me keep my head above water,” McMahon said, introducing his song “Swim.”

While McMahon’s struggle may have more gravity than most, he was never separated from his audience. He interacted, inspired crowd-wide sing-a-longs and knew exactly what they wanted to hear, which was a constant mix of new and old from all three of their albums.

Jack’s Mannequin closed their set with obvious fan favorites: the last of the regular set was the big hit of their 2005 debut Everything in Transit, “The Mixed Tape,” and one of their encores was “Dark Blue,” another favorite from the same album.

If you were like me, and those were basically the only songs you knew prior to the show, it was the perfect ending to a well-performed show. It was never boring or excluding to non-fans, and if you knew any of the lyrics, it was never inappropriate to shout them at the top of your lungs. In fact, it was encouraged. And that’s how it should always be.

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