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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Manchester Orchestra

On Further Review
by NICK PARKER

The Scene: The Middle East - 4/30/2009

SCORE OF THE NIGHT: The bands at the Middle East have to fight hard to be heard tonight. They struggle not with technical problems, but with a city transfixed by the Celtic’s triple overtime playoff fight. Bands come and go as the majority of the audience give them only glancing attention, between shouts and cries at three point shots in final seconds, and desperate fouls. This is the backdrop for Manchester Orchestra in Boston. Things are about to change...

Manchester Orchestra

photograph by Joel Faurote

Andy Hull of headliner act Manchester Orchestra knows how to handle this problem: don’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. As crowds huddle around the one old TV in the place, a bearded and hooded Hull pushes past to see the final moments of the game (Celtics v Bulls). Only once it’s all over does he turn and move past the boundary to the backstage to prepare to play.

When Manchester Orchestra do appear on stage, Hull astutely opens up with the line “Fuck the Bulls!” (And the crowd roars in agreement.) It quickly becomes clear however that the sold out crowd didn't need any false stimulation in order to be won over. Boston was with Manchester Orchestra straight from the start! Several times Hull's voice is actually overshadowed by the audience as they try to fall in step with the song, lyric by lyric. The band seem comfortable with this. But it will take a great deal to shake them at this point...

The tour with Audrye Sessions has been selling out and - just the night before, Manchester Orchestra played before an international audience on Late Night with Letterman [video]. And earlier in the day of the show, the news was released that the band's Mean Everything To Nothing debuted at an incredible #37 on the Top 200 chart (and #8 on the Alternative Albums list!) Distraction, even pure elation would be completely understandable...

RSL Video Selection...
Robert Stull - The Only One (acoustic)

We only hope they will keep their feet on the ground enough to write more songs like the vicious “Pride,” and not be swallowed whole by the PR and labels and producers who are surely poised to jump on them.


Manchester Orchestra has fun on stage and it is reflected in the crowd. These guys band isn't aren’t taking themselves too seriously, playing a cover of The Proclaimer’s cult classic “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” at one point, between their own rock epics. Very highly recommended.

Manchester Orchestra
Web / Myspace (tour dates)

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