Andrew McMahon in The Wilderness | Zombies in America Tour

Review by Sight of Sound Guest Writer Erin Marhefka
Photographs by Matt Christine and Erin Marhefka

Photo by Matt Christine

Philly welcomed some of Radio 104.5’s favorites Friday night at the Fillmore. Night Riots and Atlas Genius opened up for Andrew McMahon & The Wilderness for a sold out show, marking one of the most popular events to flow through the city so far this year.

Night Riots, from California, graced the stage and already stood out from many other bands with their colorful and funky outfits. This power-pop-rock five-piece makes it hard to stand still; all of their songs have a beat where you need to at the very least be tapping your foot or moving your head. They opened with the ever-popular “All For You”, which has an ambient undertone paired with the harmonious vocals of singer Travis Hawley, who sounds like the power pop version of Bono. “Contagious”, “Nothing Personal”, and “Oh My Heart” were also on the bill for the night, which were some of the crowd favorites.

Photo by Erin Marhefka

They performed a striking cover of “Sunday Bloody Sunday” by U2, which solidifies the Bono claim. During “Oh My Heart”, the lights went out and the band came out with glow in the dark drumsticks and began to help out drummer Rico Rodriguez. It was visually stimulating and engaging, and helped to wow the crowd. It’s always appreciated when a band takes an extra step to visually enhance their show, and Night Riots did it perfectly.

Photo by Erin Marhefka

From Southern Australia, synth-rock Atlas Genius joined the stage. Another great band to dance to, the crowd was easily entertained and enjoying the electronica-indie sound. Their set included the very popular “Trojans”, “Symptoms”, and “If So”, and a cover of the wonderful Dead And Alive song “You Spin Me Right Round”, which really got the crowd excited. Their duality of soft and lively sound is a great mix for the cheerful atmosphere many fans were looking for in this April night. During “Back Seat”, front man Keith Jeffery tribute the song to the London Terror attacks.

Photo by Matt Christine

Every single Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness song sounds like the anthem of your life.  Opening with “Fire Escape”, one of the favorites off of the 2017 release Zombies on Broadway was the perfect way to start off his set. McMahon can barely stay in his seat as he is perched at his picturesque piano. When he could, he utilized all of the space that he was given, including down in the pit with the fans and on top of his piano. A true performer, McMahon embodies the physical form of his music. He is upbeat, animated, and entertaining. The first few songs were accompanied by a simple backdrop with the word ‘Wilderness’, and then transformed to an animated space helmet with beautifully dynamic visuals inside the mask of it. The set was fitted with some old Jacks Mannequin songs, “Dark Blue”, “Holiday From Real”, and “Swim”.

Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness Photo Gallery by Matt Christine

Night Riots and Atlas Genius Photo Galleries by Erin Marhefka

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