The audience for Manchester Orchestra was made up of two completely different kinds of people. The backwards majority and the real fans that want to go see the artists play their hearts out, hearing those songs they loved so much and have listened to religiously. They had those lyrics, song break-downs, and solos down by heart. It’s a bizarre science, but a worthwhile one that we all do. If you say you don’t then you’re lying or a soulless Nazi that should just be put down, so take your pick. But ah yes, the fans were ready for the big day in this heat, ready to have their great personal experience with that band they love so much. Even if you don’t like the artists themselves, you always have to respect the true fans and that devotion and passion they have for the bands they love. On the other hand, all that advertisement was like chum to backwards majority-those people who said, “Hey, let’s hop in our cars, buy some Busch beer, and go to that one show that BUZZ has been talking about so much. I mean, shoot, what else do we have to do tonight, Randy?”
The backwards majority is a product of the Regan years, the years of secular thinking and self indulgence, just like a bad case of herpes; no matter what you do, a few always pop up. On the night of the show, they showed up in masses, buying up tickets that should have gone to the true fans. When I got to the City Market, the backwards majority had already poured all the beer down their throats (and I mean all of it) and now they were growing restless; they had watched the movie 300 and UFC and finished it all off with some good old American Idol before they got there. They were out of beer so this mob sought out other fun; they wanted to indulge in that need for violence. Any poor, music loving fan had to watch where they were going because a bump into a member of the backwards majority would mean all you would hear is something that sounded like a pig’s screech before being tackled and have a barrage of fists hit your face, and I saw that tragedy happen way too many times that night. Damn it Josh, you’re going to scare these kids with stories like that; you know your readers enjoy your words at night, in bed, and with a glass of warm milk, just like Bill Murray, you’re going to give these poor people nightmares. Ah yes! Sorry readers, the night was not ruined by those bad people and I have not even mentioned how great Manchester Orchestra was.
When Manchester Orchestra hit the stage I was at best skeptical if they could put on any kind of show at all. It would be another thirty minutes in the heat that was melting this three-hundred pound vegan to the bone but from song one they came on stage and played with pure hardcore emotion that was not fueled by some sort of testosterone beer trip that football players and fans depend on. Nope, this hardcore emotion came from years of passion and raw life experience. Manchester Orchestra’s first song was their radio song “I’ve got friends” and of course I have heard too many times to count on the radio and always have just thought it was good but nothing great. Nothing that time we’ll remember forever but if time has any eye for talent at all they will be remembered for their live performance. As soon as the lead singer Andy Hall, who looked liked just Zach Galifianakis, started saying those first lyrics, “Dirty in the ground is what I need, I got another one to tell you and another one to make you believe” I was hooked and not because these lyrics were particularly amazing but the way he sang them you could tell there was a sad story behind them and it brought unbelievable energy. This energy transferred directly to me, I felt this rise in my emotion that was like heartbreak after a bad break up but at the same time it was not depressing, it made me feel like the ship was going down no matter what so I better jump in the air as high as I can and scream these words (I somehow knew them), heat be damned.
The show went on and the sun was making me pour sweat, but I did not care because Manchester was about to play a song that was going to bring down the house, It was time for “Shake It Out”. No one was more pumped for this song than my new best friend Chris “Lightning” Freeman who even though he had no percussion to play on this song nothing was not going to stop him from playing, he just swinging his arms at his air drums, he seemed completely unaware of anything but the music; he was by far the band’s biggest fan. As “Shake It Out” roared on, I could hardly breathe but I still would not let my feet stay on the ground for more than half a second, I just kept jumping like it was 1999 and the crowd and myself were facing certain doom at midnight.
In only six songs, Manchester Orchestra did what no other band could do that night, they played music that was real, music that was not made for money but music that was made for the love of it. No other song showed this more than their last song “The River”. I’m not a fan of songs that are about bad relationships, about soul-eating women unless Trent Reznor writes them but “The River” is the acceptation to the rule. Andy Hall played the song with pain on his face like he was reliving the moments with the girl that the song was about “I’m going to leave you the first chance I get”, “take me to the river and make me clean again”. The song made me feel like the Joseph Gordon Levitt character in the movie 500 Days of Summer and ‘some girl had just taken a shit on me literally, well not literally that would be disgusting.’ Jokes aside, I highly recommend you somehow obtain a copy of their album, Mean Everything To Nothing.
Manchester Orchestra gets 4 “drunken frat boys” out of 5
by Josh Davis