Nobody would have blamed Andrew McMahon for cancelling his show in Manchester on Wednesday. So soon after such a tragedy in the same city, it was impossible to predict how many people – if any – would turn up.

And even if people did turn up, there were no promises that the atmosphere in the room would be a pleasant one.

However, Andrew continued with the show. And I think I speak for everyone who attended when I say I’m overwhelmingly glad that he did.

Any fears of the room remaining empty for the night were immediately crushed. A small queue had already formed outside of the building when doors opened at 7:30pm. By the time support act Mirror Fury took to the stage, the room was nearly full.

Mirror Fury warmed up the crowd perfectly with a series of ballads. She captured the crowd’s attention and didn’t release it until she had left the stage. While she apologized for a setlist that consisted of ‘sad’ songs, the quality of tracks like “Thistles” were so high that there was nothing to be sorry for.

Singer, Carina Bragg, has a voice so powerful that it is not hard to imagine her performing to a room double the size of the Deaf Institute one day.

When Andrew opened his set with Jack’s Mannequin tune ‘Swim’ it was clear from the get-go that the set was going to be an emotional one. Lyrics such as “Don’t let yourself sink/Just find the horizon/ I promise you it’s not as far as you think” were just what this audience needed to hear.

Rather than pretend nothing was happening, Andrew addressed the events that had taken place in Manchester straight away. Not only that, but he thanked the everyone for turning up. He reminded us that the best thing we could do right now, would be to stand in a room full of people, sing songs and have a good time. And that is just what we did.

There were many ways that Andrew managed to take his audience away from what was going on outside the venues doors.

From stage banter such as referring to multiple tracks as ‘Manchester exclusives’ and promising to create an accordion with a bra inbuilt for Zac Clark (who joined him to play these acoustic shows.) To the stories he told about his songs between playing them, which made you feel as though you have been Andrew’s friend for your whole life.

Right down to the bottle of wine he was drinking, everything about this show felt more like a group of friends hanging out together, playing some songs and having a drink, than an actual show. This kind of intimate connection through music was part of what made the night so special.

The setlist took us right the way through Andrew’s career. From Something Corporate classics ‘Punk Rock Princess’ to Jack’s Mannequin hits like ‘Holiday From Real.’ Right up to his current ‘in the Wilderness’ days with tracks like ‘All Our Lives’ and ‘So Close.’

Each song was met with the same enthusiasm as the last. Proving that whatever Andrew does, it is special.

Although the setlist was long – Andrew constantly reminded the audience that we were going to be here ‘all night’ – nobody wanted it to end. Andrew and Zac chose not to leave the stage and reappear for the encore. Yet the audience cheered them on for it anyway. We were left with “La La Lie” and “Cecelia and the Satellite.”

During the last song the giant disco ball hanging from the ceiling lit up the room with tiny beams of light. While the whole room sang along with Andrew “I keep you safe/I keep you dry,” it would’ve been a struggle for even the most hardened human not to get emotional.

One thing is for sure, next time Andrew tours the UK I will be first in line.

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