The Bowery Presents
Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness

ZOMBIES IN AMERICA TOUR

Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness

Atlas Genius, Night Riots

Wed, April 12, 2017

Doors: 6:00 pm / Show: 6:00 pm

Starland Ballroom

Sayreville, NJ

$27.50 ADV/$32.00 DOS

This event is all ages

Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness
Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness
“I wrote a pop record and then she showed up." Andrew McMahon laughs, cradling his 6-month-old daughter, Cecilia, as his wife Kelly lounges nearby with their dog, Doris. The young family is backstage at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park relaxing before McMahon performs a sold out headlining show. McMahon is referring to his new release, the self-titled LP, Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness.

McMahon has had a winding road to this artfully balanced life. This is a man who was diagnosed with cancer at 22 years old, on the cusp of releasing his debut album (as Jack's Mannequin). Who wed Kelly the following year and then took on an arduous schedule of touring and album releases. Who was nominated for an Emmy Award for his song “I Heard Your Voice in a Dream” on NBC’s Smash. Who sold nearly 2 million albums in a little more than a decade. Who, for much of that time, was struggling underneath the weight of it all.

Despite these outward signs of success - beating cancer, getting married and an Emmy nom - McMahon says the road to recovery was “a rollercoaster ride” that took the better part of a decade. “My body healed faster than my mind and my heart. It took me years to realize that and do the work. I had to figure out how to acclimate to the world post-illness. I decided to take time away from the business of making music so I could pay attention to everything else. I left my label, my management and the name I had been making music under for the better part of my 20s. I moved out of Los Angeles. It was a metaphorical hard reset.”

The time allowed McMahon to process what had happened and to renew his passion for songwriting and record making, to refill the well of his creativity. McMahon also changed his mode of operation, taking the critical step of physically distancing his work and home lives by retreating to a cabin - “a shack, really. It had no running water,” - in Topanga Canyon (CA) to hatch the album. He would spend the weekdays in the canyon immersed in music and on the weekends travel the hour and a half back south to be with his then-newly-pregnant wife. “It was important to me to be completely present when I was home. Separating out the work actually created more space to live a life worth writing about.”

In Topanga, Andrew was able to focus intensely on song craft. He poured his feelings into his work: the anticipation and anxiety about becoming a father, excitement for meeting his new daughter, ambivalence about entering his 30s. Soon after the Canyon sessions, McMahon began working with producer Mike Viola, who McMahon calls “the album’s spirit guide.” In Viola’s Echo Park garage studio, the two of them meditated on a range of classic rock and modern artists.

At the same time, McMahon began to consider the might-have-beens of his life. “I found myself asking, ‘What would have come next if I hadn’t encountered that bizarre chapter of my disrupted 20s?’ As I was writing the new songs, I was able to revisit relationships that had evolved or been dismantled in the vacuum of that disruption.” He adds, “It’s not that I wanted to erase my past. I wanted to explore it, to go back to the point where I had lost myself, where my personal narrative was overtaken, and move forward from there.”

“High Dive” emerged from the sessions with Viola and is the most representative of this sort of Sliding Doors exploration. “‘High Dive’ asks the question ‘If I had never gotten sick, where would I be?’” says McMahon. “My illness put a lot into perspective for my wife (then girlfriend) and I. With ‘High Dive’ I imagined what it would have been like if we’d split up and she’d moved on. In a universal sense, it's about letting someone go and realizing you were wrong, but it's too late.” The song buoys McMahon’s gentle tenor, slowly building from a spare composition with a snapping, driving beat, ‘High Dive’ swells into the

bridge (“Flashbacks get me close”) and resolves into a viscerally satisfying chorus flush with other voices, McMahon’s piano wrapping around the melody.

Intimate details populate the album, with McMahon writing sometimes obliquely, sometimes frankly about his struggles. “See Her on the Weekend,” a literal recounting of his time in Topanga, drops the aside “I drink more than the doctors say I should.” “Halls” outlines self-sabotaging tendencies in service of his career, “Cut my hair, and I found me a new girlfriend / Thought a broken heart could write a perfect song.” “All Our Lives” is particularly unguarded but even when he’s singing about someone else, an old friend with “a heart so gold, and words so blue / in a body home from hell,” you wonder if he’s not singing about himself in some roundabout way.

The first single, “Cecilia and the Satellite” was actually one of the last songs written for the album. “A few weeks before Cecilia was born, I was introduced to James Flannigan, a British songwriter and producer. I knew I wanted to write a song for her, to show her who I was before she was born and my commitment to protect her.” While “Cecilia” details McMahon’s love in high contrast with what he calls “the impermanence of living,” - its soaring chorus anchored by a kick drum like the steady thump of a heartbeat.

After seeing the impressive results of their session, McMahon asked Flannigan to join him and Viola to help finish production of the album. The three of them bounced around LA in various production spaces and studios until all the details had been tweaked and McMahon was satisfied that it reflected the journey as a whole. “I had been dreaming about an album that sounded like this for years, but I didn’t know it until I heard it. It took all three of us. I realize now how important every piece of the process was - every step on the path and every voice in the room.”

If, as McMahon says, "music is a mirror to the adventure of living," then it follows that each new chapter of life deserves its own title. As such, he decided his music would go forward under the name Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness. “My wilderness is mostly abstract,” he posits, “I forced myself into strange new places on the hunt for these songs, and I met some amazing people in the process. The new name carries the spirit of our collaboration.”

There is a balancing act that permeates not only McMahon’s life but his new album as well, mixing the electronic and the acoustic, the modern and the classic. But even though McMahon may have created two mini-masterpieces: an epic pop album stocked to the gills with anthemic songs and a healthy, bright, baby girl with Kelly, there’s no question which one he’s more proud of.
Atlas Genius
Atlas Genius
The members of Adelaide, Australia's Atlas Genius do things a little differently... They set about building a studio where they could write and record music for their newly formed band 3 years before they even played their first live show as Atlas Genius. For two years, they devoted their days to constructing their dream studio and spent their nights performing songs by The Police, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones at local pubs to pay the bills. "We really got down and dirty with dry walling and literally laying the floorboards, and at the same time we were taking a couple of days a week to focus on writing songs," recalls Keith Jeffery, Atlas Genius's vocalist/guitarist. "We had a lot of song ideas and it was important to us to have our own studio where we could experiment and hone in on our sound," adds brother and drummer, Michael Jeffery. The studio was designed and outfitted by the brothers with the help of their father (who comes from a music and engineering background). Once the studio was complete, the first song that Atlas Genius finished was a song called "Trojans," which they wrote, recorded and produced in collaboration with their friend, keyboardist Darren Sell. After many weeks tweaking the song, Michael insisted that the song was ready to be heard outside of the studio walls. Within an hour, "Trojans" was on the Triple J Unearthed Website, SoundCloud, and for sale via TuneCore on iTunes, Amazon and Spotify worldwide.

"We had begun to think that music was a pipedream and we had all gone back to university to pursue more realistic careers," says Keith. "We'd had such a long slog of playing late nights and working all day, and it felt like we didn't really have anything to show for it." But then, in the midst of cramming for their Fall 2011 semester final exams, Neon Gold discovered "Trojans" on the Triple J Unearthed Website and wrote a post praising "Trojans" as a song sure to "invade your head, all dressed up in a clever disguise of earnest vocals riding a hooky riff." Checking the band's email account for the first time in over a month, the band found that dozens of record labels, publishers, lawyers, booking agents and management companies from all over the world had contacted them.

"We were trying to focus on school, but it was just impossible," recalls Keith. "So we said, 'There's something going on here. Let's get back to the music.'" The band added manager, Jonny Kaps from +1, to their extended family to navigate all of the interest as the band focused on writing and recording more songs.

Quickly named an iTunes Single of the Week in Australia and New Zealand, "Trojans" reached #4 on Hype Machine by the end of May. In August, SiriusXM Satellite Radio's Alt-Nation discovered the song on a blog and decided to give it some spins. There was an immediate reaction from listeners, and in September, "Trojans" was placed into heavy rotation, where it maintained a top-five position on the listener-generated Alt-18 countdown and peaked at number one for 4 consecutive weeks in January 2012. "Trojans" began selling over a thousand tracks per week on U.S. iTunes and soon climbed to 45,000 sales -- all with zero promotional efforts from the still-unsigned Atlas Genius.

"Knowing we had this audience that was waiting on new songs, we had a much greater sense of purpose than we had before," says Keith. "It was really exciting to know that there were people who wanted to hear more of our music." Although labels were clamoring for the band to come to the U.S. and play a series of showcase gigs, Atlas Genius turned down those offers in favor of staying in Adelaide to keep writing and recording new songs. In February 2012, after months of communicating with numerous labels via Skype, the band chose to travel to the US in order to make their label decision.

"We'd never been to America before," says Keith. "We flew in at night and saw this sea of lights, and it really became apparent to us how massive the U.S. is. It was pretty intimidating -- like 'How do we fit into all this?'" In April 2012, the band returned to the states having made their decision to sign with Warner Bros. Records. "We felt a connection with them," notes Keith. "Everyone there feels very creative and dedicated to the music."

The band's first release from their new label home, the EP "Through The Glass" (produced, engineered and mixed by the band), came out in June of 2012. With "Through The Glass" completed, Atlas Genius then holed up in its studio and worked on writing and recording its first full-length album, while at the same time rehearsing for their first ever tour. The tour started in August 2012 which led to three more tours back to back in the US. Thus, their full-length debut was finished up between tour dates and got completed just before Christmas 2012. "When It Was Now" is set for a US release on February 19th, 2013, with an international release to follow soon after.

The debut captures Atlas Genius's singular combination of sophisticated musicality and warm, wistful spirit. Infused with a classic sensibility, each of the songs would fit seamlessly if somehow slipped into a long-treasured mixtape. On the shimmering "Symptoms," for instance, taut keyboard riffs mesh with urgent acoustic strumming before the band bursts into a gently frenetic, guitar-drenched chorus. Meanwhile, "Back Seat" blends its pulsing bass throb with a sweetly infectious beat and tender vocals that alternately soar and sigh. And on "Trojans," Atlas Genius begins with a restrained guitar melody and vocal ("Take it off, take it in/Take off all the thoughts of what we've been") before giving way to the handclap-accented, harmony-soaked refrain and lush yet kinetic bridge.

"It's still surreal," says Keith of all that's happened over the past 18 months. "I think when we were very young, we had hopes that something like this might happen one day," he continues. (Thanks largely to encouragement from their Beatles fanatic parents, who encouraged the brothers to begin playing music by age 14.) "But then you grow up a bit and it seems less and less likely. So when we put 'Trojans' out, we figured it would be a success if maybe a hundred people heard it. We don't want to force our music onto anyone. Our goal is to write songs that we love and we hope they connect with other people too."
Night Riots
NIGHT RIOTS is setting the alternative underworld ablaze as swift and smartly as their brooding, melody rich and timeless songs have already endeared them to critics. The Southern California based band has a unique melodic sensibility – delivering transcendent pop music that is both modern and timeless; as well as both sinister and romantic, with the downbeat flare of new wave, '80s movie soundtracks.

Frontman Travis Hawley spent five years in England before moving to a small coastal town with only one traffic light, where he met guitarists Nick Fotinakes and Matt DePauw, bassist Mikel Van Kranenburg and drummer Rico Rodriguez. Now heralded by the likes of Rolling Stone, Billboard, MTV, FUSE, Huffington Post, Earmilk, KROQ, NYLON, AV Club, KCRW, Filter and more, Night Riots just wrapped up their Fall Tour with K.Flay and Step Rockets, and have shared the stage with a diverse group of bands including Cage The Elephant, Walk The Moon, Meg Myers, OK Go, The Mowgli's, Wild Cub, Driver Friendly, Youngblood Hawke, The Front Bottoms, Angels & Airwaves and many more.
After the tremendous success of their debut EP, Young Lore, Night Riots signed on with Sumerian Records for the release of their latest EP, Howl. Released on January 20th, 2015, the Eric Palmquist-produced (Bad Suns, Trash Talk, Waaves, Mars Volta) EP just debuted at #17 on Billboard's Heatseekers Chart, and lead single "Contagious" is climbing the radio charts – skyrocketing to #5 on SiriusXM Alt Nation's Alt 18 Countdown and breaking into the Top 50 at Alt Radio.
Venue Information:
Starland Ballroom
570 Jernee Mill Road
Sayreville, NJ, 08872
http://www.starlandballroom.com/