Andrew McMahon finds a name for himself at Turner Hall

Photo via Facebook
Photo via Facebook

Andrew McMahon is no stranger to performing onstage. As the former lead singer of Something Corporate and the man behind the follow-up project Jack’s Mannequin, McMahon has been a musician since age 17, but now he’s now performing and touring for the first time under his own name.

The departure from the band’s name, however, doesn’t mean a departure from his previous work. On Tuesday night, McMahon performed at Turner Hall and played an energetic 90-minute set of music from both bands as well as new material.

“The song selection is different,” McMahon said in a phone interview before the show. “I can pull from songs I’ve written from both catalogs, from Something Corporate and Jack’s Mannequin. So I think the biggest difference has just been being able to play songs from my whole career.”

The changes from name to name are natural to McMahon and signify stages in his career.

“I’ve always felt like from time to time, there comes a point where change is necessary depending on times in my life, and I was just ready to make this move and perform in my own name,” McMahon said.

McMahon kicked off the show at Milwaukee’s Turner Hall with “Walking By,” a slow Something Corporate tune, before continuing with “The Mixed Tape,” his first hit as Jack’s Mannequin. Throughout the set, McMahon was lively, not only sitting at the piano but jumping up and down and roaming around the stage.

The setlist was like a “Best Of” compilation, alternating between songs from both bands and choosing songs McMahon felt define his career, but the show also included two new, unreleased songs, “Learn To Dance” and “Synesthesia.”

McMahon interacted with the crowd, accepting drinks from audience members and remarking on the number of times he’s played in Milwaukee. The crowd reciprocated the love. Before some songs, McMahon gave a short introduction and told small stories behind some of the music. The first show “closer” came with “La La Lie,” during which he encouraged the audience to sing along before going offstage.

The most surprising moment of the night came in the encore, when McMahon performed the opening notes of “Konstantine,” a Something Corporate song he has refused to play live for years. The crowd had been waiting for this moment for a long time and sang along to every lyric of the nearly ten-minute song. McMahon then closed the encore with the emotional “Dark Blue.”

McMahon has previously released three albums with Something Corporate and three under the name Jack’s Mannequin, and he has no intention of stopping anytime soon. An EP, “The Pop Underground,” is in the works, and he plans to work as a songwriter for the NBC show “Smash.”

“All of the songs I’ve written are where I am in my life, and with this EP that’s coming up, it’s been the process of turning 30,” McMahon said. “With all of these songs, I’m kind of taking stock of where I stand in the world and in some ways reconciling expectations of what I’ve had or where I might be and forgiving myself and the people I’ve encountered along the way.”