Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Hartford, I Heart You, with Andrew W.K.

Friday, February 19, 2010, Hartford Party Starters Union presents:

Andrew W.K.
and DJ Rizzla

and please make sure and tell your friends

The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art
600 Main St., Hartford
6:30pm - 11:30pm

Brianna Snyder laid out all the deets and then some in the Advocate, so we're borrowing her hard work:

For those unfamiliar with Andrew W.K. (Wilkes-Krier), here's a list of song and album titles to give you a sense of who this musician is.

In 2001, W.K. released his debut record. It's called I Get Wet. On that record are the songs "It's Time To Party," "Party Hard," "Party 'Til You Puke," "Fun Night" and, one of two bonus tracks, "Make Sex." His third record, being released in the States next month, is called Close Calls With Brick Walls. Some track titles from the two-disc set: "When I'm High," "We Party (You Shout)," "Big Party," "We're Not Gunna Get Old" and "The Party God." It's the ultimate party rock, written, produced, performed and packaged as nothing but party rock, and the result is something like metal meets Jock Jams. W.K. believes in headbanging, and you can get your rock horns out while you do it. Both of 'em.

As well as being a party rocker, W.K. is also a motivational speaker; he's toured around college campuses giving self-help lectures and speeches for much of the last decade. In 2004, he had his own mini-segment on MTV2 called "Your Friend, Andrew W.K.," on which the musician responded to letters seeking his advice by showing up at the doorsteps of the people who wrote them with a camera crew, then staying a day or two to help them sort some things out, and reminding the troubled letter-writers to "headbang hard."

Being a one-man rock/dance party and a self-help guru, Mr. W.K. has, as you can imagine, many, many admirers. Among them are the Hartford Party Starters Union, who, on a mission to brighten Hartford's nightlife, began organizing dance parties and shows all over the city about a year ago. Citing Andrew W.K. as an "influence" for their cause, Neil Brewer, HPSU spokesman, said he's "super, super excited" about the party rocker's upcoming (free) performance the Party Starters have booked, after much effort, in Hartford this week. And in a recent interview, W.K. said he's also psyched.

What's awesome about Andrew W.K. is he's pretty psyched about everything. His party ethos extends beyond booze, headbanging and blood, into his own philosophical ideas about partying, which make up the foundation of his motivational speeches.

"I look at partying as doing what you enjoy with a very aware and focused mindset," he said by phone from his NYC apartment. "When you party and celebrate, you're setting aside a special time to have fun and to celebrate your life. It's kind of like Thanksgiving in that you're giving thanks for the goodness in your life. I used to think of partying as specific things, like dancing or drinking alcohol or doing drugs. But it's really whatever you think is fun."

I asked him what else, besides alcohol, dancing and drugs, is fun.

"It could be reading a book or hanging out with your friends," he said. "Or hanging out with your cat and dog. Partying is doing what's appealing and enjoyable to you. Even your grandmother who might like to crochet, that's a party. Once I moved to New York [from outside of Detroit], I started thinking that way. That every time I'm doing something fun, I'm partying."

So, then, does he drink when he parties?

"Yes, of course," he said. "I really enjoy alcohol and think it's amazing. It's so powerful."

Other powerful drugs he said he enjoys include salvia, the still-technically-legal psychoactive drug that can get you pretty, pretty, pretty messed up. W.K. said salvia had a life-altering effect on him in one particularly mind-blowing experience. He described it as his one and only "10-out-of-10 salvia experience."

"I've done it many times," he said. "And have maybe even had a seven or an eight experience. But that was the only 10-out-of-10 experience."

He described it as terrifying, enchanting and humbling. "Not only could I not remember my name, I couldn't even remember that I was a person at all. I couldn't remember that I existed. I had no concept of what a human being was." Soon after that — though he says there's no relation to that salvia night of all nights — he began his motivational-speech touring.

"That's the kind of drug experience I'm fine to have happen once. I don't think I can ever have it happen again. That first time will always be special," he said. "It can be completely crushing and overwhelming and it can be really liberating. ... I would recommend it."

The Andrew W.K. show's surprising location, in the Avery Gallery of the Wadsworth Atheneum this Friday, lends extra appeal to the event (which also features other notable, if lesser-known, bands Japanther, NinjaSonik and Lemonade). Brewer said there's no list, so those hoping to get in should show up early. Doors are at 8 p.m., and capacity is 700. There will be booze — "We're told there'll be cheap Bud Dry," Brewer said. Black Bear Saloon is handling the beverages, and the HPSU hired a pro sound guy, Brewer told me with relief. "We're taking the night off." They deserve it.

Andrew W.K. is no doubt going to attract a whole legion of hard-partying fans, and America's oldest art museum seems a reckless choice of venue. But Brewer said that last year's Neon Indian show, also held in the Avery, was well attended and went fine (400 people turned up); the Wadsworth has continued to support the HPSU and their ongoing party-planning.

"It's gonna be insane," said W.K. about his debut Wadsworth performance. "We're all gonna go completely crazy. I'm ready to go crazy, always."

1 comment:

john smif said...

javelin cancelled its now ninjasonik