Friday, September 14, 2007

a religious experience

so i know i promised a blog about religion and God and all that yummy goodness, but it got a little late and i can't help but write about how incredible of a band manchester orchestra is. i just got back from my second of theirs.
the first time i saw them, in february, there were maybe 10 people in the casbah at tremont music hall in charlotte. now, after tours with say anything and brand new, and last week's appearance on the late show with david letterman, they drew closer to 400 as headliners.
if i had to describe the show in a single sentence i'd say this: they are the only band i have ever seen who has been able to start a pit and have an entire room go 100% silent (not a whisper) all within the same song. the passion that lead singer/guitarist andy hull puts into his music is unmatched by anyone i've ever witnessed. even my favorite bands to see live, kaddisfly and less than jake, look like they're going through everyday routine compared to hull's embodiment of a tortured and constantly questioning mind exploding through music and song. the band began the show (after a 1 song solo intro from andy) getting their two "poppy" songs off the table ("wolves at night" and "now that you're home") before delving into the depths of all that is manchester orchestra. half the set is comprised of andy singing over plucked electric guitar strings, while the other half is an arena-rock-level show, replete with 3 layers of guitars, bass, keyboards, and lots of toms and cymbols from the back of the stage (though it should be noted that the separation of solo and all-out could happen many times within the same song). hull ended the main set (before the solo encore) with a powerful (understatement) rendition of "where have you been." after screaming variations of "God, my God, where exactly have you been?" for multiple minutes, it was all hull could do to lean his exhausted head up against the microphone. the room was as still as a wooded pond at night--not a peep from anyone for the longest 3 seconds of any of our lifetimes til hull backed away and thanked the audience.
after a couple more solo songs (again, the room fell silent, enthralled by hull's every word), i was fortunate enough to meet up with andy briefly--he still remembered half the questions from the interview i had done with him in february. he said he loved that interview and now hates the ones that he does on a daily basis--which made me feel pretty darn special. we chatted a bit longer (he said he'd help click2remember any way he could), and i gotta tell you, he is an absolutely incredible person, through and through. even if you don't necessarily like the music, i really hope everyone will support these guys.
more on God tomorrow, or another day, but in the meantime, treat yourself to the genius and passion of manchester orchestra...

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