Something Like Sound

Tag: Manchester Orchestra

Manchester Orchestra: Whiskey-soaked rock music

by on Nov.10, 2010, under Concert Reviews

Initially I thought someone was pulling my leg: Manchester Orchestra would be playing in Denver, tickets and drinks would be free. Turns out it was true, Atlanta’s own Manchester Orchestra found themselves in Denver last Sunday for the first in a new concert series from whiskey-distillery Jack Daniel’s. To add to the evening’s already excellent premise, local rock group The Knew had the opening spot.

Having seen The Knew more than a few times now, it would be difficult to not repeat myself. That said, the quartet played an excellent set steeped in four-on-the-floor dance beats, catchy lyrics, and rock guitar. Also, a group of my friends (after having a couple complimentary cocktails) suggested that singer/guitarist Jacob Hansen may be the splitting image of Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant… I concur.

When Manchester Orchestra took the stage, the venue was pretty well packed, although not at an uncomfortable capacity. Kicking off with “Pride,” the group’s raw energy was on full display as Andy Hull’s softly strummed guitar burst into life as the song reached its first break-out. The set played through like a “best of” record (although, to note, Manchester Orchestra only has 2 LPs out right now). Focusing mostly on their heavier material, Manchester played quite a few older fan favorites including “Wolves at Night,” “Now That You’re Home,” “I Can Barely Breathe.” However, a great mix of songs from Mean Everything To Nothing also made appearances (including “The River,” “My Friend Marcus,” and “I’ve Got Friends”).

I was glad to see my personal favorite “100 Dollars” get played, in addition to a new song (from the forthcoming 3rd MO record due out next year). The grand finale came in the form of “Where Have You Been?”- complete with a Puff Daddy-inspired intro. As the song reached its last refrain, the band began to build into an all-out wall-of-sound guitar driven finale. As the last chords rang out, Hull softly strummed out a stripped-down rendition of “The Only One.” With the set over, Manchester Orchestra retired to the green room, not returning for an encore… none was really needed- they had played all-out, holding nothing back.

Click for more photos | The Knew | Manchester Orchestra

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Brand New & Manchester Orchestra at the Fillmore

by on Feb.01, 2010, under Concert Reviews

Long Island-based Brand New is one of those groups that cannot be easily described in words or photos. Rather than simply putting on a concert, a Brand New show is more of a full-body experience. Hardcore fans scream every lyric as they push and claw their way to be near the stage. The music pounding out of the speakers is not quite the same as the emo-tinged anthems of years gone by, it is more raw, it is more free, it is brand new.

With their newest record, Daisy, Brand New toured the U.S. this past fall with the support of Atlanta-based Manchester Orchestra. Unfortunately for concertgoers in Salt Lake City and Denver those dates were postponed due to illness. Saturday night, nearly four months after the original date, Brand New returned to Denver.

The momentum of the evening really began to pick up when Manchester Orchestra took the stage. For a brief moment I thought I had been transported back to the early 90’s, to a Nirvana concert. However, the lyrics I heard were not reminiscent of nihilistic teenage angst, but rather turned out to be deep and thought-provoking. “Where Have You Been” is always the highlight of a M.O. set, and that night’s performance was no exception. Toward the end of the song (on the big build-up part) they had 4 drummers going simultaneously; it was a sight to see and a sound to (literally) feel.

I was unsure what to expect from Brand New. This particular show was my third time seeing them, and I anticipated they would play heavily from Daisy. Much to my surprise front-man Jesse Lacey started the set with “Soco Amaretto Lime,” a soft number from 2001’s Your Favorite Weapon.

From then on they pulled out all the stops. With each song the crowd never appeared to grow weary despite singing/yelling along and a generous amount of “rocking out.” Highlights included “Sic Transit Gloria (Glory Fades)” going straight in to “The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows” and set closers “Jude Law and a Semester Abroad” and “Seventy Times 7.”

Looking back on the night as a whole I can say confidently that this was the best performance I have seen from Brand New. While they did showcase quite a bit of their new material (“Vices” was my personal favorite from that bunch), the group stayed true to their roots and fan base. For anyone who is unfamiliar with Brand New, go out listen to 2003’s Deja Entendu, the record that introduced me to their unique style and caused me to fall in love with their live set.

To see the full sets of photos from the show check out these two galleries: Set 1 | Set 2

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Brand New rescheduled, tickets still available

by on Jan.25, 2010, under Blogs

For those who are interested, Long-Island based Brand New will be in Denver on Saturday, January 30. This show was rescheduled after the group missed the Denver date of their fall tour a few months ago. Tickets are still available via this website. We will be there, photographing and reviewing the show. Also playing that night: Manchester Orchestra and Dusty Rhodes.

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Album Review: Manchester Orchestra – Mean Everything To Nothing

by on Oct.07, 2009, under Album Reviews

It was a hot night in mid-May when hundreds of eager fans crammed into a venue in LoDo to watch Manchester Orchestra bring down the house. A few months later and this Atlanta-based group is on its way back to Denver (opening for Brand New this Thursday at the Fillmore).

Their newest record, Mean Everything To Nothing, was released earlier this year and attempts to give listeners a more accurate representation of how the group sounds live. Following their 2006 breakthrough, I’m Like A Virgin Losing A Child, Manchester Orchestra began garnering more serious media coverage and received a notable amount of airplay from the now-defunct local radio station Indie 101.5 (they’ve actually moved to an online format at indie303.com, but closed down terrestrial radio broadcasting a couple months ago).

From the first track this record pulls out all the stops. Lead singer Andy Hull’s delivery is impassioned and heartfelt, a good medium for the lyrical content. Mean Everything picks up where Virgin left off: a young man on a spiritual journey of sorts continues to patch his life together. As the protagonist of the story deals with the past and the present, he tries to decide what the next step should be. The lead single “I’ve Got Friends” displays this story with a catchy chorus and hard-hitting guitars.

Due to the highly contemplative nature of the songs, this should not be considered a “feel-good” record. Grappling with desperation, pride, and humanity are, and have been, core parts of Hull’s songwriting style. The record calms down during “I Can Feel A Hot One,” then picks right back up and ends with “The River,” an anthem of redemption.

Overall this album does manage to pack the energy of a live Manchester Orchestra show into a portable listening experience; however, repeat listening doesn’t always result in the same goosebumps, excitement, and emotional response that come from actually seeing this group perform live.

Watch the video for “I Can Feel A Hot One” recorded at Spin

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Chuck Ragan does Daytrotter

by on Aug.26, 2009, under Blogs

I have often expressed my appreciation for music-session-blog Daytrotter. They’ve done what I could only imagine doing: recording the best up-and-coming artists from a wide swath of the modern independent music using old-fashioned full-band recording techniques.

Yesterday’s session features 6 songs (available for free download, just click on the photo above) from former Hot Water Music singer Chuck Ragan. Earlier this summer we had the chance to see Chuck open for Lucero at the Bluebird, and as I remember Chuck gave one of the most intense folk performances I’ve ever seen.

I thought I’d also take the time to share some of my other favorite Daytrotter sessions here too. Click on the images to go the respective sessions.

Manchester Orchestra

Andy Hull

Andrew Bird

Annuals

Bon Iver

Cryptacize

Death Cab For Cutie

Dinosaur Jr.

John Ralston

Kevin Devine

Langhorne Slim

Michael Zapruder

Minus The Bear

Limbeck

The Mountain Goats

The New Frontiers

The National

Pepi Ginsberg

Ra Ra Riot

The Silent Years

The Snake The Cross The Crown

Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin

These United States

Vampire Weekend

Young Coyotes

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Concert Review: Manchester Orchestra at the Marquis

by on May.13, 2009, under Concert Reviews

Manchester Orchestra: Not quite an orchestra, definitely not from Manchester, UK. However that didn’t stop this Atlanta based group from selling out the Marquis in LoDo last night. Touring in support of their recent release Mean Everything To Nothing, Manchester Orchestra has begun to get big, and was recently featured on David Letterman.

First up was Winston Audio, an Atlanta band with a hard-hitting sound and remarkable consistency. They pounded through song after song, and at times I was reminded of bands such as Alkaline Trio or Murder By Death, although the Winston Audio guys definitely had a slightly more upbeat approach than those groups. Following Winston Audio was Audrye Sessions, a band that didn’t even introduce themselves until someone yelled asking their name at the end of their set. Their sound could best be described as a mix of Annuals meets Radiohead, with tons of instrumentation and reverb-drenched falsetto vocals. I found their set to be one of the highlights of the night, as they used dramatic colored lights to accompany their unique sound.

Following Audrye Sessions was a band called Fun. Singer Nate Ruess told concertgoers that this was their first tour, which came as a bit of a surprise since they had such a tight dynamic. The story of Fun goes something like this: Nate was in The Format, Andrew was in Anathallo, and Jack was in Steel Train. The resulting combination sounded like the offspring of the three groups.

Finally it was time for the main event: Manchester Orchestra. As lead singer Andy Hull took the stage donning a white baseball cap, the group proceeded to play through several songs before taking a moment to introduce themselves. Sticking mostly to material from their recently released album Mean Everything To Nothing, they played with the same intensity I remember from seeing them a couple years ago. Perhaps my favorite part of their hour+ set was the last song in the normal set, “Where Have You Been.” The ending of this slow-burner erupted into violent flames as Hull sang new lyrics and the entire band filled in with grandiose instrumental breakdowns.

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What’s next?

by on May.11, 2009, under Blogs

With finals now behind us it’s time to start summer classes (insert sarcastic “yay!”). But that doesn’t mean we’re stopping. This week we’re going to 3 concerts in 3 days, and we’ll have daily posts with photos and reviews. Tomorrow is Manchester Orchestra at the Marquis, Wednesday is Young Coyotes at Rhinoceropolis, and Thursday is Trace Bundy and Andrea Ball at Everyday Joe’s in Fort Collins. We also have a new video interview from The Silent Years that should be ready in the next couple of days. Also in the works: New album reviews from Paper Bird and Dualistics. We should also be hearing back from the Mile High Music Fest. people about our press access here soon.

Finally, we’ve decided that it would be awesome to put together a compilation of Denver-based music acts. It would be available for free via this blog and will achieve 3 goals.

1. Promote the featured bands: If you want to get your music to smart, sexy people who have great taste, there’s no better group than our readers.

2. Promote Denver: The Mile High City is pretty great, and the talent doesn’t end with the Fray, we’ve got lots of great musicians to showcase.

3. Promote our blog: by organizing such an ambitious experiment we hope to grow our readership and continue to bring you the best of Denver music.

Any parties interested in taking part in our experiment need only comment below.

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Spring Shows (part 2)

by on Apr.15, 2009, under "Best of" Lists, Blogs

Earlier we posted about some great upcoming shows, here’s the second installment. Also note that none of these concerts cost more than $20.

The Photo Atlas & 1090 Club – April 26, Hi-Dive, $8: Denver’s own Photo Atlas recently recorded a new EP as a followup to their 2006 full length No, Not Me, Never. 1090 Club also recently released Natural Selection, an album that we got the chance to review. Both bands are excellent live. Also playing: The Forecast

Manchester Orchestra – May 12, Marquis, $12: We already covered this one, but it deserves another highlight. MO’s new album Mean Everything To Nothing is excellent and they put on a great show.

Adrian Orange, Young Coyotes & Bad Weather California – May 13, Rhinoceropolis, $5 suggested donation: Adrian Orange, a Seattle based singer-songwriter will be on tour and stopping by Denver in May. Young Coyotes and Bad Weather California will also be there to represent the best in local DIY.

Kevin Devine – May 24, Marquis, $12: Kevin Devine is one of those singers whose songs have substance. He’s toured with Brand New, Manchester Orchestra, and a plethora of some of the hottest acts out there. His new album Brother’s Blood comes out at the end of April.

Lucero – May 29, Bluebird, $17: Part country, part punk, Lucero has been writing markedly beautiful and provoking music about life in the American west for the better part of the last decade. With songs that will break your heart and give you something to drink to, Lucero will certainly put on a great show.

Hot IQs – June 19, Bluebird, $10: Another Denver based group, Hot IQs recently released a single titled Houndstooth. They’ve been working hard on new material for their next full length, and will likely be playing new tunes when they play the Bluebird in June.

In other music news, SideCho Records has signed The Silent Years, a DIY band from Detriot. They’ve got a new EP, titled Let Go, coming out July 14. They also have an album already out called The Globe, which received positive reviews from The Onion and NPR. Keep an eye out for these guys and remember where you heard about them first.

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Looking Forward To Warmer Times

by on Mar.05, 2009, under Blogs

Edit: I changed the permalink and removed the links in this article because of the ridiculous amounts of spam we were receiving.

Here in Colorado (and in most places), we’ve got a saying, “March comes in like a lion and leaves like a lamb.” Perhaps 2009 didn’t get the memo, because we’re five days into March and it’s balmy and beautiful in the Mile-High City. But, this is a blog about music, not the weather (do they have such things?). Either way, the recent warm weather got me thinking about the spring / summer music season, and I thought I’d hilight some shows and events that should be recognized.

March 17 (St. Patrick’s Day!): Akron/Family & Young Coyotes at the Oriental: What better way to celebrate St. Pattie’s day than with some great tunes. In what will likely be an explosion of indie-folk-experimental sound, Akron/Family will take the stage after the crowd gets warmed up on Denver’s own Young Coyotes.

March 24: The Academy Is… at the Hi-Dive: I remember seeing The Academy Is… a few years ago at Warped Tour, and they were on top of their game then. I haven’t kept up with the group since then, but it’s nice to see them playing and acoustic set at the Hi-Dive. Also featured: This Providence.

April 3: Flobots at the CSM E-Days Festival: The loudest, most rambunctious thing we do at Mines, the E-Days show this year will be unlike any we’ve seen before. For the first time in recent memory, hip-hop will be the predominant sound eminating from Steinhauer Field House. Also featured: Filthy T

April 8: Dredg at the Marquis (Downtown): As a group that is constantly updating and experimenting with their sound, Dredg has found a special place in my music library. Their 2005 album Catch Without Arms is still one of my favorites.

April 24: The Gaslight Anthem at the Gothic: If Bruce Springsteen and Black Flag had a baby, it would be the Gaslight Anthem. Recently in Denver opening for the Rise Against / Thrice / Alkaline Trio tour, the Gaslight Anthem has kept busy playing late-night television gigs and touring.

May 12: Manchester Orchestra at the Marquis (Downtown): There are very few bands who inspire me the way Manchester Orchestra does. Lead singer Andy Hull’s lyrics are deep and intensely delivered. After seeing M.O. open for mewithoutYou a couple years ago, I’m excited to see them again. This time around they should be playing material from their soon-to-be-released album Mean Everything To Nothing.

May 16: Flight of the Conchords & Iron and Wine at Red Rocks: New Zealand’s premier acoustic-guitar weilding comedy duo, Flight of the Conchords have made their mark on American television and music. Constantly playing with different genres, the Conchords will likely put on one of the best shows in the 2009 Red Rocks schedule. Also playing: Iron & Wine, possibly one of the best, most beautiful sounding bands on the indie scene.

June 2: Animal Collective at the Boulder Theater (Boulder): Critics have been kind to Animal Collective’s  neweset release Merriweather Post Pavillion, calling it “the greatest album of the year.” Although their brand of experimental-electro-pop might not sit well with lovers of more traditional music genres, Animal Collective will surely put on an amazing show.

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Album Review: I’m Like A Virgin Losing A Child

by on Jan.21, 2008, under Album Reviews

2007 was a fantastic year for music, but unfortunately the first part of January is not a popular time for musicians to release new material. This week some digging was done to find an album suitable for review and a disc from 2006 made the cut.

Atlanta may be a city known for its hip-hop scene, but amidst the grills and spinners resides a rock band that has been gaining momentum. Manchester Orchestra came from mere obscurity and landed an opening position on a spring tour in 2007 with punk-emo heavyweights Brand New. Since then, Manchester Orchestra has ceaselessly continued touring and promoting their album, I’m Like A Virgin Losing A Child.

The album itself has been described, by the band, as the story of one man’s life. Old photos grace the cover and liner notes of the disc, following the man until his wedding night (featured on the cover). Though the story is rather vague, reflecting back on relationships and the idea of “home” are hot topics for lyrical content.

Although they are not actually an orchestra, Manchester Orchestra starts the album off with a multi-layered mix of instruments on “Wolves At Night.” The song’s high energy continues into “Now That You’re Home” until “The Neighborhood Is Bleeding,” where the album begins to take on a sort of nostalgic melancholy sound. Lead man Andy Hull grapples with issues of faith, death, and commitment through the middle part of the album. The haunting “Sleeper 1972″ maintains a simple style mixed with powerfully emotional lyrics. The protagonist of Virgin arrives at the climax with the realization that he can never return to his old lifestyle on “Golden Ticket.” The album picks up from there as Hull’s lyrics become more thoughtful and less emotional, ending with “Colly Strings,” the denouement of the story and a loud instrumental anthem.

Manchester Orchestra may have received a boost in fame from opening for the likes of Brand New, Kings of Leon, and mewithoutYou, but their album is the primary reason they’ve gained the attention they deserve. Musically it is a treat to hear musicians doing what they enjoy, while lyrically, the words sung are timeless. A person could easily listen to this album 10 or even 20 years from now and still find some sort of meaning.

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