Tag Archives: Robert McDowell

cat_preview

Manchester Orchestra Get Loud at Terminal 5

May 23rd, 2014

Manchester Orchestra – Terminal 5 – May 22, 2014

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

Photos courtesy of Sean O’Kane | seanokanephoto.com

cat_preview

Manchester Orchestra Electrify Music Hall of Williamsburg

November 14th, 2013

Manchester Orchestra – Music Hall of Williamsburg – November 13, 2013


Before last night, it had been more than two years since Manchester Orchestra’s last proper headlining show in any one of the five boroughs. And after all that time, their return, last night at Music Hall of Williamsburg, was met with the frenzied enthusiasm of a sold-out crowd for the Georgia band’s electrifying set. If you take adages to heart, that one about absence making the heart grow fonder seemed to apply pretty completely.

With their musical teeth as sharp as ever, the five-piece rock band came out swinging with “Shake It Out,” one of the most brash songs off their second album, 2009’s Mean Everything to Nothing. The tune hit the crowd quickly with its assaulting, distortion-heavy guitars and lead singer Andy Hull’s snarling wail. It set the tone for the rest of the set as Manchester Orchestra performed some of their heavier songs to complement the two new tracks they played, which skewed in that same sonic direction. They included “Virgin,” one of the band’s darkest songs from their 2011 release, Simple Math, as well as Mean Everything’s last two numbers, “Everything to Nothing” and “The River,” with a smooth transition in between.

More melodic songs like “Pensacola” and “Pale Black Eye” even carried a little extra thump. But there was still time for total surprises, however, as tunes like heartbreak-anthem “Colly Strings” and Andy Hull’s go-to, a cover of Willie Nelson’s “The Party’s Over,” fit neatly into the set list. And because of their absence, Manchester Orchestra were actually afforded something they had never truly had before this tour—the ability to keep fans wondering which song was coming next, and they took full advantage. Their set took dynamic twists and turns, and the crowd of fans that had waited so long sang every word right back at them without breaking their starry-eyed gaze. —Sean O’Kane

Photos courtesy of Sean O’Kane | seanokanephoto.com

cat_preview

Bad Books, Good Show

February 21st, 2013

Bad Books – The Bowery Ballroom – February 20, 2013


Returning to the room where they made their live debut in 2010, the combo group of Bad Books put on an arresting show last night at The Bowery Ballroom. The visible difference this time around was how tight the band was, whether it was the louder, faster-paced “You Wouldn’t Have to Ask” or the blood-boiling simmer of “Please Move.” This was thanks to the band—Kevin Devine and the members of Manchester Orchestra—having another album’s worth of material and a bit more experience playing the songs together.

There was even a noticeable difference during the slow acoustic songs (which is not something new to singers Devine and Andy Hull, who have played together acoustically for years), and those moments were elevated by those in the attentive crowd embracing total silence, their gazes fixed on the two singers harmonizing onstage. It was the kind of special moment both frontmen have cultivated in their solo performances, and it was nice to see it translate to a slightly different setting.

The rapport shared by Devine and Hull is reason alone to see Bad Books perform, and that was an important part of the show as well. The two cracked jokes throughout the set, but their bizarre humor was never more evident than when Hull introduced a “new song” by claiming, “This is the first song that Kevin and I legitimately wrote together,” before easing into half of a cover of Hootie and the Blowfish’s “Let Her Cry.” —Sean O’Kane

Photos courtesy of Sean O’Kane | seanokanephoto.com