Show Review: Manchester Orchestra @ Emo’s (11.4)


Just when it looked like we were going to skip that whole fall season thing, last night’s rain and cold front had us grateful for the change in venues from the Scoot Inn to Emo’s. This same rain didn’t prevent people from getting there early to catch the opening act, even despite the 6:30 door times. It was a night of appreciation for beauty in simplicity, where opener Chris Staples did his part to warm the crowd for the elegance of Manchester Orchestra. Read on for a brief synopsis of the evening.

Chris Staples is a songwriter from Pensacola whose most recent and third album as a solo artist, American Soft, is filled with quite indie rock jams with a bluesy influence to them. He took the stage with some help from members from Manchester Orchestra to flesh out his sound. Staples wasted no time jumping into his set, and from the opener “Hold on to Something” he had the crowd pretty much hooked onto his sound. While those around me walked up during the middle of the set and audibly questioned who exactly was on stage, they also remarked that they were enjoying whatever they were listening to. Staples won the audience early and kept them, his tunes with their steady rhythm and enchanting lyrics combined easily to give us something to bob our heads to.

While admittedly I haven’t listened to a lot of Manchester Orchestra’s extensive catalogue, one thing can be said for sure about this band—their sound is glossy and pretty, dominated by the vocal power of Andy Hull. The show revolved mostly around the front man and his guitar—while several other members were on stage for the majority of their time onstage, their contributions were subtle. Hull and company worked their way through their heavy set and the songs’ weighty subject matter and epic nature was tempered by vulgar comments from the audience in between songs. It felt like a large portion of the audience was afraid of the night getting too weighty or morose and as the night went on the frequency of the jests increased and were graciously deflected by Hull. These yells didn’t completely temper the emotional tunes from the band, but did provide a strange environment for them to be unleashed in. The crowd still managed to get the band to come back out for a brief encore despite house lights being raised and were sent back out into the rain comforted by the music they heard.

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