It’s been a fair while since Manchester Orchestra have graced these shores and with the release of their fourth, bullshit-free record Cope, they’ve come with a mission to tear apart every venue they play and leave a trail behind them in their wake.
This is the first time Austrailia’s Gang of Youths have come over to the UK and with their blend of My Morning Jacket harmonies and King Of Leon deep-south guitars, they make a perfect addition to this tour. Opening up their set with ‘Radioface’ which features the lyric “They are infinite, we are infinite now”, the band shows a lot of promise with the amount of energy they put into every song they play and are poised for success.
Manchester Orchestra receive a heroes’ welcome when they take to the stage and waste no time with introductions and burst straight into ‘Shake It Out’ from their much-loved record Mean Everything To Nothing. By the time the song reaches the climactic chorus, the crowd’s voices are warmed up enough to shout back every word. This works best on the overwhelming singalong to ‘Pensacola’, where the gang vocals almost dwarf frontman Andy Hull’s voice.
In between songs, the chemistry between each band member and the audience is flawless, with Hull jokingly acting agitated to a fans rude request for ‘Sleeper 1972’ from the band’s first record, with Hull responding “now no-one will know what song we were going to play because you ruined it!”. That being said, despite being put entirely on the spot, the delicate performance of ‘Sleeper 1972’ is absolutely divine and the fragile harmonies exchanged between Hull, Chris Freeman and Robert McDowell fill up the quiet room and perfectly contrasts the band’s blistering dynamics.
The band test the waters with new songs from Cope and although the crowd don’t bite at first with ‘Every Stone’ and ‘Cope’, when the band tear into ‘Top Notch’, the room erupts, screaming back the chorus “All that I know, there’s no way to fix it”. Despite the heavy emphasis on songs from Mean Everything To Nothing, it’s clear that the band want to move forward and hopefully when the band return in September, the setlist will be stacked with songs from Cope.