It's not often that a musician regularly ends his shows by thanking the crowd for performing for him. In fact, Andrew W.K. is the only person that this reporter has seen do that. But, then again, there aren't many artists who have fans as animated as W.K.'s. Last night, when the piano rocker and Calder Quartet hit the stage of Largo at the Coronet, the fans truly became part of the show.
It might seem odd that W.K., still best known for the bloody cover of his debut album and songs like "Party Hard," would be touring with the famed string quartet, but for the fans, something this unusual is almost expected. W.K. is a risk-taker, one who is successful enough to bring out a flood of college-aged folks in faux blood-stained t-shirts to sit in chairs and listen to Bach.
Near the end of the concert, the fans could not contain their exuberance any longer. They had clapped to "I Get Wet" and "Party Hard," bounced in their seats to "I Love New York City." So when W.K. and Calder Quartet launched into "Dance Party," about twenty people scattered across the room rushed to the floor in front of the stage, forming a high-brow mosh pit (i.e. no actual moshing). Soon they were on stage with their hero, dancing around the piano as he played.
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W.K. thanked the crowd at the end of the number and announced that they would close with something that was more rockin' than anything they had played earlier.
"This is a piece by John Cage."
The crowd seemed up for it. After all, they were teetering on the verge of pumping their fists in the air during Philip Glass' "Company." And so the group burst into "4'33,"" which you may recognize as a work where the musicians play absolutely nothing. The kids on stage looked a little confused. Those in the crowd seemed torn between giggling and sharing in a few minutes of absolute silence. When W.K. slammed the cover over the keys, someone shouted "Play it again!" and so he and the quartet embarked on the second movement of the piece, and then the third. It was the perfect conclusion, allowing the sound of the crowd to become the final piece of music (excluding the encore, of course).