We rolled in just as The Never, the opening opening band, was heading off stage. I took a quick peek at their myspace before heading to the show. Wasn’t overly impressed but found it interesting that the bass player for the Squirrel Nut Zippers was once in their band. Check them out on Myspace. Very young.
The night was just that, young talent. Both Annuals and Manchester Orchestra have members that need an X on their hand and probably have trouble growing any whiskers, although that was clearly not the case for Manchester Orchestra’s front man, Andy Hull.
The band frantically setting up appeared to be Annuals. Although I was under the impression that they were head lining. When I saw Adam from Annuals on the side of the stage I asked who was going on and he said in his frantic state, “we are and I’m late so I’ve got to go”. Seems the bus was just rolling in and they didn’t get a chance to setup or do sound check so it took a few but they finally got things going. At first, the sound was a bit muffled with the bass overpowering many of the instruments, especially the keys. But the vocals were definitely up, except for maybe Anna’s, their female keyboard and vocalist. She also wore some funky boots and was rocking a “Little House on the Prairie” skirt. Pretty interesting.
They started the set off with a new track, “Nah Keyesi”, which can be found on the upcoming EP that we mentioned in the previous post. This is a great song that shows off their capability to take a song through highs and lows. The one thing I noticed during their set was that Adam’s screaming can be off mark. For instance, one song had a carnival like beat to it and I was bouncing around during the opening riff. Then Adam comes in with his yelp and it through me off. I wasn’t enjoying the music at this point. I felt if he just sang rather than yelled his part during this song it may have been more enjoyable. I’m not saying I don’t enjoy his enthusiasm. I love it. He definitely brings energy to the stage and you can see it in his surrounding band mates as they bounce and jam along with him. Perhaps over time he will begin to recognize that his energy and screaming need to be put in to check and timed perfectly so certain moments aren’t swallowed up by his presence.
Adam also reminded me a bit of James Murphy from LCD as he clearly loves the drums. He has his own little kit next to him and he even took a sit at the other set of drums on the stage during the lead guitarists’ song.
The one surprise during the Annuals set was the performance of their guitar player, Kenny Florence. This kid has some chops and he even had his own song during the set. It was a nice break in styles and it added a good pace to their sound. When Adam isn’t leading the group, Kenny can easily take over. And even when Adam is front and center, Kenny plays the silent leader perfectly. There was a moment when Adam needed a guitar to play so Kenny took his shoulder strap off and put it around Adam. But no worries, he just reached back to his arsenal of guitars (he had four) and got right back in to the groove.
Now it’s time for Manchester Orchestra to rock the stage. A band I knew very little about until a day or two leading up to the show. So I was surprised to hear that they had played just the night before on Conan O’ Brian and had also played on Letterman (Watch them on YouTube jam “Wolves at Night” on Letterman). And when they started to play their songs, just about everyone new the lyrics.
So now that we knew they had a following, do they have the sound to back up their hype? Definitely. And the reason, they sound like every indie band you’ve heard in the past five years. The big comparison being the Decembrists. The front man, Andy Hull, sings in the same vein as Colin Meloy. However, when first looking at Adam , you would think he sang in a heavy metal band. He’s got a big fuzzy beard that he’s clearly been growing for a year or so. He started telling a story about a fan telling him to shave his beard. He acted like he wouldn’t give a fuck if he shaved it right now. He lives moment to moment and it gave me a bad impression of him but then he turned it in to a joke by saying, “no, wait, that’s my identity, I can’t cut that shit”.
I didn’t stay for their whole set. That’s kind of how things go on a week night show for me- that is until this whole blogging thing becomes an actual money maker. I don’t have any personal highlights from the songs I did hear. However, I do remember the drummer being a mad man, at times almost looked like he would break his snare. Perhaps my partner and crime will have more feedback on their set as he stayed longer than I. I’ll report back with more input.
For now, pick up some goodies below from both Annuals and Manchester Orchestra. If you dig, buy their shit my friend.