On May 3rd I attended the Manchester Orchestra concert at the Pageant. While the show did not sell out, the pit was incredibly crowded because the balcony wasn't open. I was in the second row of humans, center stage.
The first of three bands was Harrison Hudson, a three-piece outfit from Nashville. The singer and guitarist, Harrison himself, had the appearance of Buddy Holly meets Arcade Fire. Big glasses and a slightly strange haircut. Between the three members, the songs were well-balanced. No one outshined the rest. They played songs about relationships including a very humorous song about Katy Perry. THe entire set could be summed up in their song "Run My Way." "Love is a waiting game." Very true words.
The second band was Australian rock duo An Horse. They showered us in half-shouted vocals and fast beats. Singer/guitarist Kate Cooper played an orange Fender Mustang that looked as though it had been bought earlier that day. He vocals were very energetic but sometimes difficult to understand. Drummer Damon Cox pulled out some stunning fills that I definitely don't remember from the album. Despite the tease of an acoustic on stage, there were no acoustic songs.
Finally Manchester Orchestra took stage, starting with an older fan favorite, "Shake It Out." Friends, it only takes a few melty crayons to ruin an entire coloring book. When one guy charges his way to the front, it creates a mosh pit. This was a particularly violent one. Three songs in and frontman Andy Hull had taken notice.
"It seems some of us are smiling a little too much about all the pushing and shoving."
"Thank you!," said everyone in the front.
"Yeah, do you see all these people, especially women saying thank you?," said Andy to the moshing guys, "That means you're wrong."
The set included a few songs from their forthcoming album, Simple Math, but was for the most part very old-heavy. We were treated to a beautifully slow cover of Neutral Milk Hotel's "Holland, 1945." Andy continued to play many of their most popular songs at a much slower tempo than the album. I like to believe that this was to discourage shoving in the pit. Hull played a black Gibson hollow-body the entire show except for one song played on a custom telecaster built by guitarist Robert McDowell.
My favorite thing about Manchester Orchestra is that it seemed as though all five members knew exactly what their songs were about. I could really tell that they were feeling the lyrics as they played the songs. Drummer was smiling like a little kid during the entire show.The band opted to not do an encore and just play one extra long set.
A fantastic concert. A terrible audience. It only takes one, kids. It only takes one...