In Focus: Andrew McMahon Headlines Syracuse’s Food Truck Battle

Summer festival season could not have kicked off with a more perfect start on Saturday, as the Syracuse Food Truck Association hosted their third annual Food Truck Battle at the New York State Fairgrounds.  The event featured over fifty local and regional food trucks as well as a day filled with local and national music alike, culminating with a headlining set from Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness.

Andrew McMahon performs at the 2023 Syracuse Food Truck Battle

Festival attendees were treated to a line up of over fifty local and regional food truck of varying cuisine.  The trucks lined the road ways around the Fair’s Chevy Court.  Happy festival goers packed the streets, hoping to try some of their long standing favorites, or perhaps venture into a new cuisine.  A panel of local celebrity judges sat stage side, sampling fare from each truck, and would later present several awards.  Festival goers were also encouraged to vote for their favorites.  

Quality food wasn’t the only thing on the menu, as the day’s agenda featured a diverse mixture of both local musicians and national touring acts.  The day’s music kicked off with a set by local favorite, Just Joe.  Just Joe, formerly of heavy metal band Brand New Sin, delivered a set of classic rock covers played entirely on the piano.   His set was followed by a high energy performance by My So Called Band, who played a set of 90’s rock covers.  Fondu was up next, and by now the festival grounds were starting to pack in with the afternoon crown.  The area around the stage began to fill with dancing concert goers, who were enjoying the disco-party atmosphere provided by Fondu.  The Brownskin Band followed, delivering a set of R&B music. Finally, Hard Promises wrapped up the local music portion of the day, with a set of 70’s classic rock covers.  

Fondu performs at the 2023 Syracuse Food Truck Battle

Following an intermission to present the day’s awards, national touring act Michigander took the stage.  Led by lead singer Jason Singer, the four piece band performed a set of indie pop-rock tracks.  They opened with “Superglue”, the catchy first single off the band’s latest EP, It Will Never Be the Same.  The song’s chorus is one everyone in attendance could sing along with, even if they had never heard it before.  The band’s set had fans dancing and swaying in the area surrounding the stage.  One group off to the side danced and sang along to every word and even caught the attention of Jason Singer.  “You guys are awesome.  When you play a new city, you never know if anyone will show up.  Thank you so much.” 

Michigander performs at the 2023 Syracuse Food Truck Battle

After a short stage change over, it was time for Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness.  The area surrounding the stage had filled in almost entirely by this point with fans of McMahon, both young and old.  Taking the stage promptly at 8:30pm, the band launched into the high energy “Stars”, off their latest release Tilt at the Wind No More.  McMahon, who sings and plays piano, bounced around the stage between stints on the piano.  He danced on top of the piano, at times leaping into the air.  He ran through the crowd singing, without missing a beat.  In all, the band delivered 90 minutes of stand out tracks spanning McMahon’s career, one that has seen him play in three different bands.   The crowd, who packed the area in front of the stage, sang and danced along the entire set.  They pleaded for an encore, one which McMahon quickly obliged. Returning to the stage with guitarist Bob Anderson, the two delivered a haunting rendition of “Nobody Tells You When You’re Young” followed by “Cecilia and the Satellite” the later which was written for McMahon’s daughter, who frequently accompanies the band on tour. It was a climactic ending to a wonderful day of food and music.

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