Sunday, August 19, 2007

Manchester Orchestra, Knitting Factory, 8/16/07

Last week while painting a room in my house and listening to Jenny Eliscu's show on Sirius' Left Of Center channel, I heard an amazing song that made me put my brush down to check the digital song display on my radio.

The song was "Wolves At Night" by Manchester Orchestra, and sounded nothing like the other stuff Jenny had been playing that day. It had big guitars, fuzzy keyboards, a solid groove, and vocals that kind of sounded like Brian Molko of Placebo.

After a few minutes hunting for more info on the Internets (and trying not to get latex wall paint on the keyboard), I found that they were from Atlanta, and had an album out called I’m Like A Virgin Losing A Child on Birmingham's Favorite Gentlemen label which has been picked up for distribution by Columbia imprint Canvasback Music. I was psyched to find they were playing the Knitting Factory only a few days later, so I had to see what these guys were like in person.

I was amazed to find on the night of the show that the place was packed, and when the band went on, the (surprisingly young) crowd seem to know every word to every song. The show kicked off with a very quiet and intense song performed only by singer Andy Hull on acoustic guitar, followed by a brace of loud anthems sung-along-to by the crowd, followed again by another soft acoustic song by Hull only. His style and delivery on those solo tunes reminded me of David Bazan or Sam Beam from Iron & Wine, and it was really impressive how the band could get the crowd whipped up with the rockers, and then instantly still and silent for quiet songs.

When they turn on the rock, they sound very much like a cross between Mew and My Morning Jacket...anthemic yet rootsy, but really they work a sound all their own.

Listening to the album on the way home, I was pleased to find that they've captured the energy and very original feel of their live show onto the disc, and it's really all I've listened to now for the last few days.

They'll be back in NYC on September 19th when they open for Kings Of Leon at Radio City.

Manchester Orchestra - "Wolves At Night" mp3 buy

Side note re: The Knitting Factory:

Is the KF the only club in town that I can count on for at least 6 backwards-cap-wearing-meatheads to start a moshpit, no matter who is playing what, at every show? From my perch in the balcony at the above mentioned show, I watched nearly a dozen goofwads totally level at least 3 female bystanders (and each other) during a frenzied and violent retard-bumperpool a mere three songs into the set. Thankfully, the singer politely asked the wingnuts to calm down, but it's a shame that this kind of thing seems to be the rule rather than the exception.

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