Manchester Orchestra – Terminal 5 – May 22, 2014
In what felt like the loudest show at Terminal 5 in a long time, last night, Georgia quintet Manchester Orchestra spent well over an hour eviscerating the eardrums of their fans from the mosh pit up front to the couches on the third floor. Song after song, the heavy distortion of both Andy Hull’s and Robert McDowell’s guitars was inescapable no matter where you moved throughout the venue, while Andy Prince’s bass and Chris Freeman’s keyboards filled in much of the rest of the sonic space. Tim Very’s drumming, which has become its own spectacle since he joined the band a few years ago, rounded out the band’s massive sound. Few drummers look like they hit cymbals and skins as hard as Very, who seems to use every bit of motion he can muster to crash along the beat with a force that makes you wonder how he doesn’t break his drums, let alone his sticks.
The band, fresh off the April release of their fourth studio album, Cope, skewed older in their set list. While the new album’s thunderous beats and ear-shredding riffs seem primed for exposure on this tour, it’s hard to imagine anyone in the crowd complaining that they got to see the now rarely played “Colly Strings” and “I Can Barely Breathe.” In fact, not even much of Manchester Orchestra’s second-to-last release made it into the set, with just the two fan favorites in “Pensacola” and “Pale Black Eye” being played. No, most of the set list was culled from the band’s debut LP and its follow-up, Mean Everything to Nothing, which ended up being a perfectly heavy complement to the new tracks they performed. Over the years, Manchester Orchestra have played in just about every little venue there is in this city, but their increasingly gigantic sound has finally been putting them in increasingly bigger venues—and boy does it suit them. Just ask one of the thousands of people whose ears will be ringing all holiday weekend. —Sean O’Kane