Concert Review: Andy Grammer / Patrick Martin @ The Egg, 10/18/2023
I spent Wednesday night in everybody’s favorite oblate spheroidal concrete concert venue bobbing my head and singing along to some of America’s most familiar radio hits from the 2010s by way of pop-reggae musician Andy Grammer.
Opening for Andy Grammer was Patrick Martin, a young bright-eyed and bushy-tailed artist with only a handful of songs in his discography and a wardrobe that might have come from him raiding the Free People warehouse or time-traveled and stolen straight from the 70s: red-heeled boots, bell bottoms, a brown leather jacket, and a haircut that reminded me little too much of college photos of my dad. Just by looking at him, you’d never have known his resume was relatively short. He had an irresistible, seasoned state presence that might have made Freddie proud. Even Patrick himself recognized the flamboyant nature of his stage-strutting. “I hope that’s not too much gyrating for you,” he quipped with a dramatic grin. “I can’t make it stop.”
I noticed just how broad-spectrum infectious his energy was once in one row, in particular towards the end of his half-hour set. Two young girls in pink ball caps were gleefully dancing and clapping to a strong cover of Harry Styles’ “As It Was.” Martin never faltered, not once. His hands often were reaching towards the heavens, wearing a tambourine as a crown, removing it from time to time to tap it on his hip bones and fold the shimmery zills of the instrument.
Andy Grammer took the stage promptly at 9:00, entering in a dramatic fashion. He appears as a dark silhouette behind the frost glass (plastic?) of a door positioned center stage before emerging and launching into his introduction, which was this run-on sentence of songs—New Money, Give Love, All You Need is Love (Beatles cover), and something something Bob Marley (according to Setlist.FM at least. This is the only one I wasn’t certain of).
With a wide grin, Andy told us all how excited he was to play at The Egg and how much he was resisting the “egg” puns. “You can egg-spect me to sprinkle them in throughout the show.” I groaned and couldn’t resist an eye roll, but like any stupid joke, I actually had a smirk perched upon my lips. I don’t think I heard another one in the show except for, “But I’m egg-cited to play here. I’m from Upstate New York.”
Time to start a fight. Good sir, Orange County is not upstate. It’s the Hudson Valley! (Wait, can we identify ourselves as “Downstate Canadian?” If so, I’m starting a petition.) But as you are from our great Empire State, we welcome you with open arms and an excitable audience as a New Yorker all the same.
Towards the end of his popular single, “Honey I’m Good,” it became a mashup with the Earth Wind & Fire song “September.” It was fun, and I really wanted to like this part because it started off well, however all in all I felt the mashup was a little messy, and in my opinion, it didn’t quite land on my ears the way I think the band wanted. The later mashup of his hit “Fine by Me” with Beyonce’s “Crazy In Love” was more successful.
But with the same energy as dancing in September, watching Grammer run around the stage for his entire set made me feel tired; it’s so impressive how he was able to keep up that level of energy the whole time. He would run up the stairs, run down, run up, run down. “I’ve been told I have major golden retriever energy.”
You do. Can confirm.
But then, seemingly out of nowhere, he would stop, and we’d find ourselves in the middle of a poetry break. In my opinion, this minute of unexpected iambic pentameter was the most powerful one of the show. “Here’s to the light-bringers,” he recited expressively, rehearsed but also in utmost earnest, “that know it’s hard as hell but continue to show up unapologetically themselves.”
Shortly following this recitation, he asked the room, “Who here has lost someone recently?” A young woman in the orchestra pit raised her hand and explained that she’d lost her younger brother earlier this year. Andy climbed down into the space to be with her before pulling her into a tight, safe hug. He called upon the audience to sing to this person the song “These Tears.” “It’s gonna be alright,” the audience sang. “It’s gonna be alright.”
One thing I really liked about Andy’s set is that he gave some of his bandmates real opportunities to shine. At one point, he once again climbed up the stairs and sat down, dangling his legs off of a constructed ledge, handing the mic to one of them for a soulful, more R&B version of Norah Jones’ 2002 single “Don’t Know Why.” In another instance, during “Good Company,” a bandmate was handed brass instrument after brass instrument, allowing the audience to admire the skills of this musician from trumpet to trombone to saxophone.
Towards the end, in an anecdotal break, he described the process of writing the song “Love Myself.” Written in 2020 and described as the most awkward for him to perform, he explained that it was written as homework given by a therapist. I honestly thought we were about to get a BetterHelp ad break and promo code (“Use the code ANDYG20 to get 20% off your first month”) instead of a statement of the creative process, but it was an honest endorsement of the therapy as a whole and being vulnerable with oneself.
Andy’s show surprised me in several ways. It had a light show far more impressive than I would have anticipated (pretty sure I’m still seeing spots), but also in the sense that the energy never waned. Even in the slower moments, there was still this undercurrent of energy that thrummed through each and every seat. This sustained energy was a piece of it being the most optimistic show I’ve ever been to, which personally isn’t really my speed. I like a little wallowing and a little angst from time to time, but that said, it doesn’t have to be, nor was it for me, and I wasn’t there as a fan; I was in attendance as a reviewer. There’s something to be said for the perpetual flow of positivity, and clearly, that is something the audience finds so appealing about him. In an age of seemingly infinite political turmoil, of pandemic and post-pandemic life, the constant bombardment of information about Russia vs. Ukraine, and the violence and bloodshed now in Israel and Palestine, a little peace and comfort found in happy earworms can feel like a warm, weighted blanket upon the psyche.
Now could someone please tell me how to get “Honey, I’m Good” out of my head? I can’t make it stop. Nah, nah honey, I’m good, I could have another but I probably shouldn’t…
Patrick Martin Setlist
- Dandelion Eyes
- All This Love
- Velvet Time
- Lean In
- Cinema Love
- As It Was (Harry Styles)
- Waste the Night
Andy Grammer Setlist
- New Money, Give Love, All You Need is Love (Beatles), Bob Marley
- Good To Be Alive
- Lease on Life
- Saved My Life
- Fresh Eyes
- Honey I’m Good
- Damn It Feels Good to Be Me
- These Tears
- Save a Spot in the Back
- Good Company
- I Found You
- Love Myself
- Good in Me
- Fine by Me/Crazy In Love
- Keep Your Head Up
- Back Home
- Don’t Give Up On Me