With Hurricane Sandy blowing away most of the concerts scheduled for New York City last week, many eager music fans were experiencing paranoia that their desired show of the week would no longer happen. Fortunately for the fans of folk-punk rockers Andrew Jackson Jihad, the band, at the last minute, salvaged their show planned at Le Poisson Rouge by relocating their performance to Europa in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Even with the post-Sandypocalypse nuisances and obstacles, several fans made it out to the borough of lights and electricity to vent their rage at the hurricane with mosh pits and fist pumps all around.
Opening for Andrew Jackson Jihad was Wales’ punk rock band Future Of The Left. Serving as a good warmup for the main act, FOTL immediately charged the crowd with the energy. Their punk antics of jumping around stage while shredding their guitars and insulting the keyboard as a “machine filled with MGMT-duck samples” won the crowd over, as a majority participated in the last mosh pit and extend the distortion-saturated treat from a moderate “6.4 minutes” to a lengthy 11 minutes. With much of the audience hunched over huffing and puffing as FOTL left the stage, AJJ took their time setting up to let the audience members’ second winds kick in.
Setting up the equipment on the dimly lit stage, the members of Andrew Jackson Jihad, particularly vocalist/guitarist Sean Bonnette, looked perturbed, a dismal sign for any show. Between fumbling with the equipment and adjusting the sound settings with the stage tech, the crowd was getting antsy. Eventually capitulating to the audience’s twitchiness, Bonnette strummed a lick from the Pixies “Where Is My Mind” before beginning the set with the ironically titled “We Didn’t Come Here To Rock.” Immediately a pit was born; those caught off guard immediately became ping pong balls, feeling the brute force of being bounced off one body to the next. Nonetheless, the adrenaline rush was infectious. Playing the songs in “sets,” the band finished the moshing-filled first set with distorted, fast-paced “Heartilation,” draining the crowd of its remaining energy.
As the second “set” began, a lone Bonnette remained, clutching an acoustic guitar. Giving the crowd a breather, he began the set with the tragic “Back Pack.” Many of the audience members waned their bodies limply, singing along the dark lyrics that would make mothers cry. Within the second set, a spirit of camaraderie was kindled, as crowd members held each other shoulder to shoulder, practically screaming their lungs out alongside Bonnette to “Fucc The Devil” and “People II: The Reckoning.”
Earlier in the show Bonnette promised the crowd he’d play “Hate, Rain On Me,” saying, “It will be awesome.” During the final set, the vocalist kept his promise. The venue itself became a mini-hurricane, with the audience members throwing everything they had left in themselves during the song. Finishing the set with “Big Bird,” Bonnette descended into the crowd. The vocalist got personal with the crowd, inviting fans to gather around him and sit while he wailed about the troubles of the world. As he ascended the stage to leave, several fans begged at the band for an encore. Bonnette responded to the crowd’s pleas in a jokingly disappointed manner: “I’m sorry, but even I don’t think I can top that one.”