Manchester Orchestra + Gang Of Youths @ The Glee Club, Birmingham – 8th April 2014

Manchester Orchestra + Gang Of Youths @ The Glee Club, Birmingham – 8th April 2014Manchester Orchestra + Gang Of Youths @ The Glee Club, Birmingham – 8th April 2014Manchester Orchestra + Gang Of Youths @ The Glee Club, Birmingham – 8th April 2014Manchester Orchestra + Gang Of Youths @ The Glee Club, Birmingham – 8th April 2014Manchester Orchestra + Gang Of Youths @ The Glee Club, Birmingham – 8th April 2014Manchester Orchestra + Gang Of Youths @ The Glee Club, Birmingham – 8th April 2014Manchester Orchestra + Gang Of Youths @ The Glee Club, Birmingham – 8th April 2014Manchester Orchestra + Gang Of Youths @ The Glee Club, Birmingham – 8th April 2014Manchester Orchestra + Gang Of Youths @ The Glee Club, Birmingham – 8th April 2014Manchester Orchestra + Gang Of Youths @ The Glee Club, Birmingham – 8th April 2014Manchester Orchestra + Gang Of Youths @ The Glee Club, Birmingham – 8th April 2014Manchester Orchestra + Gang Of Youths @ The Glee Club, Birmingham – 8th April 2014Manchester Orchestra + Gang Of Youths @ The Glee Club, Birmingham – 8th April 2014Manchester Orchestra + Gang Of Youths @ The Glee Club, Birmingham – 8th April 2014Manchester Orchestra + Gang Of Youths @ The Glee Club, Birmingham – 8th April 2014Manchester Orchestra + Gang Of Youths @ The Glee Club, Birmingham – 8th April 2014Manchester Orchestra + Gang Of Youths @ The Glee Club, Birmingham – 8th April 2014Manchester Orchestra + Gang Of Youths @ The Glee Club, Birmingham – 8th April 2014Manchester Orchestra + Gang Of Youths @ The Glee Club, Birmingham – 8th April 2014

Steve Gerrard Photography

Opening up for Manchester Orchestra tonight are Sydney five piece Gang Of Youths. Having recently been featured in NME’s ones to watch in 2014 and touring with artists such as Vampire Weekend, they certainly have something to live up to. They deliver a set of well thought out melodies and often soulful moments which are well demonstrated on debut single ‘Evangelists’, which even has a Bruce Springsteen feel to it.

Steve Gerrard Photography

One thing I’ve noticed is that the sound is absolutely spot-on. The drums are clear, yet not overpowering and the bass really drives the songs through, particularly shown on the six-minute long ‘Vital Signs’ which shows off some very well crafted dynamics throughout. The band seem to be a tightly knit unit; every member has a smile on their faces and they definitely shows no sign of fatigue despite the vast distance they have travelled to be here.

Steve Gerrard Photography Steve Gerrard Photography

Manchester Orchestra are one of those bands that always seem to be at the top of their game. They’re currently touring to support new album, ‘Cope’. They kick of tonight’s proceedings with the tense and brooding ‘Shake It Out’ from second album ‘Mean Everything To Nothing’. With vocalist Andy Hull already proving that he can belt out a song with the best of them, his sharp, unique voice cuts through the verse and chorus section towards the bridge where everything suddenly drops off to reveal an emotional vulnerability to Hull’s voice, as he mutters “I felt the lord begin / to peel off all my skin. / And I felt the weight within / reveal a bigger mess / that you can’t fix.”

Next up is ‘Pensacola’ off third album ‘Simple Math’. The song has obvious Modest Mouse influences which is never a bad thing. In fact, the song shows better than anything else this evening that Manchester Orchestra can write a fun, energetic and ludicrously catchy song just as well as they can write a brooding, emotionally charged rock song.

Steve Gerrard Photography

The set continues as the band bombard the ever attentive audience with a perfect mix from all their albums, with slightly more focus on ‘Mean Everything To Nothing’, arguably their best album. I don’t think anyone could complain about the set as it included all the ‘hits’ as well as a few that I certainly wasn’t expecting them to play. Including the beautifully crafted and performed ‘Colly Strings’. Being the final song on debut album ‘I’m Like A Virgin Losing A Child’ it was a stunning rendition of an epic album closer.

This is a band that is at home on the stage. There is an obvious chemistry between the whole band, not only during the songs, but in between them. And although they have two relatively new additions to the band, drummer Tim Vary and bassist Andy Prince, they seem perfectly at ease to join in with Andy and guitarist Robert McDowell’s on stage jokey antics.

Steve Gerrard Photography

The band leave the stage after putting in a breath-taking performance of ‘The River’ that sounds even more massive than it does on record, which is quite a feat considering it is an absolutely huge tune in the first place. Andy and Robert stay on stage unexpectedly as a crowd member repeatedly chants ‘Sleeper’ and they oblige by going straight in to the tear jerking ‘Sleeper 1972’.

The rest of the band return foraAn encore which includes both ‘Top Notch’ and ‘Every Stone’ off brand new album ‘Cope’ which, I must say, sound far better in a live setting than on record. With the guitar sound, which in my opinion is used maybe a little too much in ‘Cope’, sounding great.

Steve Gerrard Photography

Emotional and real, Manchester Orchestra is a band that has no need for gimmicks. They play well written, well thought out and, most of all, memorable music. They have proved time and time again that they have incredible talent when it comes to music and tonight proved no different.

Steve Gerrard Photography

Review – Francis Sebestjanowicz
Photos – Steve Gerrard

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