I was very excited to see this show, as Manchester Orchestra has quickly become one of my new favorite bands, and certainly one of my favorite to see ever since I first saw them with Brand New last spring. The idea of seeing them in such a small venue was wonderful.
The show began with Colour Revolt's Sean Kirkpatrick coming onstage to apologize for the fact that their singer, Jesse Coppenbarger, was sick, and that Kirkpatrick would be just doing a few songs solo. He did a good job of keeping the attention of the audience as he alternated between fast and slow songs for about twenty minutes.
Unwed Sailor took the stage shortly after. I had never heard of them before, and when I realized they were an instrumental band I prepared myself to be bored for the next half hour. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that they were actually very good. Each song flowed seamlessly into the next, with just enough synth to balance the smart guitar work.
Manchester Orchestra began with just Andy Hull playing "Sleeper 1972" solo on his electric guitar, eyes shut and almost whispering into the mic. The rest of the band crashed to life with "Wolves At Night," and the band proceeded to pound through the rest of the tracks on I'm Like A Virgin Losing A Child.
The best performance of the night was easily "Where Have You Been?" which devolved into Hull screaming, sighing, and holding himself up with his mic stand. The entire venue was dead silent for a full ten seconds after he finished before bursting into applause.
I love to watch Manchester because even if Hull's voice cracks, or if Chris Freeman's tambourine is slightly off beat, they're passionate and good enough that it doesn't matter. The band is so young, but their songs are already so mature. Every note is intense and purposeful. It's refreshing.
When called for an encore, Hull returned to the stage claiming they had no other songs, but soon relented and played a song titled "Badges And Badges" from his side solo project, Right Away Great Captain. Although he called it pretentious, it was a nice pop song, quite different from his Manchester material.
All in all, a very good show. Manchester is a band I will not tire of watching anytime soon.