Metro Theatre, Sydney
Friday February 2, 2018 :

When I tell people about this band I love, called Manchester Orchestra, they safely assume its an actual orchestra from Manchester who play classical music, when in fact they are heavy indie rockers hailing from Atlanta, Georgia.

Show started with a short set by Slaughter Beach, Dog – a project of Jacob Ewald’s of Modern Baseball fame. Sounding as if a soft olden days story teller armed with an acoustic guitar and harmonica, sweet emo-folk songs such as ‘Acolyte’ off Ewald’s latest album Birdie (2017) rolled off his tongue and caught the crowds attention sucessfully aiming it at his tender ballads which i find are quite relatable.

Starting right on time, Manchester Orchestra – the band who’s main music co-writing machine consisting of Andy Hull and Robert McDowell (who also not so long ago co-wrote the soundtrack of a brilliant indie movie called Swiss Army Man – check it out!) joined by Andy Prince on bass, who totally steals the stage at every show with swinging guitar and chaotic, cinematic moves as well as Tim Very on drums – focused, but relaxed at the same time – the drum beat provided by Very really ties the band’s sound together on stage and in recording.

This time around the band was missing Chris Freedman, who parted mays with Manchester Orchestra in 2016 and did not take part in making of a new record A Black Mile To The Surface.

The band kicked off the show with three new songs, ‘The Maze’, ‘The Gold’ and “The Moth” which were met with open arms by the crowd responding with chanting back the lyrics to ‘The Gold’, especially. ‘Shake It Out’ off Mean Everything To Nothing (2009) sounded as intense and angsty as ever and the crowd started a circle pit of sorts. ‘Pale Black Eye’ off Simple Math (2011) followed by ’I’ve Got Friends’ (2009) which were the tracks all were waiting for. The band then outdid themselves with ‘I Can Barely Breathe’ off I’m Like A Virgin Losing A Child (2008).

Taking short breaks between songs, presumably for technical reasons it was back into a section of newer 2017 songs : ‘The Alien’, ’The Sunshine’ and ‘The Grocery’ followed by another carefully structured block of, again, older songs such as ‘Simple Math’ (2011), ‘Cope’ (2014), ‘The River’ (2009), finishing the show with ‘I Can Feel A Hot One’ (2009) and ‘The Silence’ (2017) in the encore.

While the set-list was clearly structured to promote the sales of the new album, it was fairly short for a band with back catalogue as rich as Manchester Orchestra’s. It was a brilliant show, however – heavy guitars, lingering bass and Andy Hull’s forever echoing sweet vocals that are surprisingly recognisable for the genre. The band are still very old-school in their music making, they come, they play, they don’t do much chit-chat and they conquer the hearts of fans all at once.

Manchester Orchestra are headed to Brisbane and Perth next, if you are a fan of great indie rock – go see them…you don’t want to be haunted by the fear of missing out, do you?

Photographer and Reviewer : Annette Geneva



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