Manchester Orchestra – Beaumont KC – May 2011

04May11

Props to my man Jarrod for the pic and video!

Manchester Orchestra is a modern rock band with an identity…they haven’t assigned themselves to one of the available rock labels floating around right now (emo, pop, punk, rockabilly, etc) and instead seem to blend some of the best qualities of those genres into a truly unique sound. Sure, frontman Andy Hull can get a bit lyrically long-winded at times (shades of emo), and the guitars can tend to get loud (metal/punk), and there may even be a catchy hook or two in there (pop). But at no point do they allow themselves to drift too far in any of those directions without changing up the volume, tempo and mood. I got a chance to check out this eclectic rising act the other night at the Beaumont in Kansas City, and they put on a really good show.

The embedded videos highlight a mellow track ‘Colly Strings’ which flows right into rock banger/ballad ‘Everything to Nothing’. It’s a pretty good snapshot of the evening, although those songs aren’t as up-tempo and loud as some other highlights. The majority of their music does a great job of combining quieter moments with thunderous guitars, and some of the better ones include ‘I Can Feel a Hot One’ and ‘Now That You’re Home’. The band got a big pop from the crowd during ‘Wolves at Night’. And shit got really loud during ‘In My Teeth’, where I turned to my friend and said “Nirvana?” These guys know how to rock, but their best quality is that they aren’t just shredding guitars or yelling or looking for likeable sing-a-longs. Their lyrics are generally meaningful, and Hull’s quirky voice constantly draws you in.

My only gripe with the show was the band’s approach to their radio hit ‘I’ve Got Friends’. They mentioned the song several times throughout the night like “don’t worry, we’re gonna play it”, which to me came across as sorta antagonizing to the casual fan who may have only heard of that song before. I understand where they are coming from…no band wants to be identified purely by their “radio hit”. But at the same time you don’t want to scare away new fans, no matter how they ended up standing in front of you that night. Clearly the dedicated fans already have deleted it from their iPods (“I’m so over that song already…I bet you still think it’s cool”). I will say though…once they got around to ‘I’ve Got Friends’ late in the set, by the second verse they were really rocking it and got a great response from the crowd. So perhaps it was a calculated act from the band to appear as though they hate their “popular” image, when in reality they genuinely appreciate the exposure they have gained from this song. Either way, something about their banter bothered me. I guess every band has been down that road before…someday after their prime, I’m sure they will be grateful that folks still show up to hear the hits.

Anyway…a very good show from a very talented band, and I’m anxious to see and hear more out of Manchester Orchestra. Their new record Simple Math will be released next week (5/10/11)…click here to listen to it for FREE! (gold octagon in 3rd box, red diamond in 5th, blue object in 8th, 4-sided sideways red in 9th, yellow triangle in 10th)

music turtle recommends: GO SEE THEM!

Ever been to a Manchester Orchestra concert? Comment below

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