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Jack's Mannequin / Copeland / The Hush Sound / Daphne Loves Derby
September 13, 2006 - Rave Theatre - Milwaukee, WI
by Melissa Stroh
10.01.06

It's my fault really. Maybe I've outgrown my own taste in music. At a concert where the low points--a crowd sing a long to The Darkness, a song dedicated to a soon to be 13-year-old and 30 minute sound checks--exceed the high points, maybe it's time I move on to more mature music. But no matter how many times I tell myself that this is my last show, by the end of the night, I can't wait to see another.

On a dismal Wednesday night in Milwaukee a crowd of 150 people gathered for the "Tour for the Cure." The tour, a concept of Jack's Mannequin's Andrew McMahon, raises money from the ticket sales for Leukemia research, which McMahon was diagnosed with in recent years. Although the tour is for a worthy cause, the show didn't get interesting until the headliner stepped on stage.

The first band, Daphne Loves Derby, was absolutely dreadful. Horrible acoustics and a mundane set just about put everyone to sleep. Then came the 30-minute sound check between bands. Once the Hush Sound came on the acoustics and the energy didnít get much better.

At this point I was eavesdropping on conversations between 16-year-olds to keep me entertained, which it did through both The Hush Sound and Copelandís horrible sets. For once, in my entire life, I was debating leaving a show before the headliner even got on stage. But I'm glad I stayed.

Jack's Mannequin stepped on stage to a frenzy of cheers and screams. Anyone can tell the hardships heís been through just by looking at his gaunt frame. After chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant from his sister, McMahon plays every show as if its his last, because it just might be. He managed the piano and the Elton John-esque microphone set up like a pro. At times, he became so passionate about the music that he would stand up and play, banging on the ivory keys with a ferocity thatís rarely seen these days. He not only pounded out hit after hit from his debut album
Everything in Transit, but he surprised the audience with a few covers.

The crowd sang along to Simon and Garfunkel's "Homeward Bound" and hands in the shape of W's could be seen in the air as McMahon belted out Weezer's "My Name is Jonas." The night winded down with an encore, in which McMahon played a song that he wrote about his sister Kate, whose bone marrow saved his life. The last song of the night was the long winded, "MFEO Pt. 1 and 2," which ended with McMahon mixing in U2's "With or Without You."

Jack's Mannequin's passionate performance almost made me forget the horrid openers, but not quite. If McMahon comes to town, check him out, just make sure he's with decent supporting bands.