Reminiscing upon their quaint yet enthralling performance at London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts with their good chum, Kevin Devine through Favorite Gentleman relations, I had seen many faces return for another viewing of what these Atlantan characters could do.
Starting off with the slow and subtle Jimmy, He Whispers, the crowd begin to simmer down, captivated by the delicate words of frontman Andy Hull, strumming his guitar, sending waves of tranquillity throughout the room. Following suit came Pride, which at first is a calm affair, brashly transcending into an aggressive zeal (and slight wheeze) of sounds that I believe only to be found in such a southern man. Drummer Jeremiah Edmonds adds explosive drumming into the mix as the song hits the second chorus along with guitarist Robert McDowell‘s grunge-esque attacks.
I’ve Got Friends arouses the interest of even those deeming themselves to sing along proving to be a faithful crowd favourite as does the ever-pleasing Wolves At Night. The serene atmosphere for the most part was due to the majority of the setlist being slow tracks such as Where Have You Been?, which could have been replaced with an upbeat oldie like The Neighbourhood Is Bleeding. We are, however, highly excited to see Mr. Chris Freeman behind his second drum kit preparing for Everything To Nothing to be churned out post haste. As always this song gets the crowd moving and for a room full of hipsters and tired thirty-somethings weary from their day jobs, this is most definitely quite a feat.
Those who have attended Manchester Orchestra concerts in the past will know that The River is normally the sayonara song of the night but those who thought that tonight’s spectacle had come full circle were mistaken (quite peculiarly may I add as encores are a common addition of gigs these days) as Hull returned on stage to perform acoustically The Only One before being joined his fellow band mates to perform Down To Your Soul and Sleeper 1972 to serenade the audience farewell.
As the last notes fade into the ears of the audience and thank yous are sent out into the crowd, a gradual line of souls begins to build up at the merch stand. The same souls who would most probably be collecting their satchels, applying ‘subtle’ make-up or tastefully tousling their hair to its indie optimum. Manchester Orchestra managed to change the indie regime meaning tonight, they had the won the capital all over again.
– Nellie Owusu.