There’s something incredibly moving about Manchester Orchestra – it’s in the way they weave a melancholic atmosphere, and in the way their emotionally driven lyrics pierce through their riffs. They possess a spine-chilling quality that’s only further highlighted when Andy Hull’s croons reverberate through venues like London’s Shepherd’s Bush Empire, where the band took the stage on their latest UK tour.
On the back of releasing their already celebrated new album A Black Mile To The Surface, the band kick off the night with the album’s ethereal opener ‘The Maze’: “I notice you when you’re noticing me / Breaking the habit, you’re watching me sleep / Oh, give me some time, let me learn how to speak / I’m a maze to you.” For the next couple of songs, the band stay true to their recent release, moving on to ‘The Gold’ and ‘The Moth’.
So soon after the release of a new album, it’s always expected that the band are eager to play as many new songs as possible and as a fan it’s always exciting to finally experience the ways these songs truly come alive. However, the band did not neglect their earlier material, with songs like ‘I’ve Got Friends’ and ‘Colly Strings’ embraced with excited cheers as soon as the first note hits. Closing the set with an encore of ‘I Can Feel A Hot One’ and ‘The Silence’, the band end their almost two hour long set on a high note.
Despite minimal interaction with the crowd, there’s still a very strong connection that’s almost instantly noticeable. Whether it is the couple waltzing together on the balcony, or the middle aged man who’s gotten unashamedly emotional; Manchester Orchestra created a special atmosphere in the venue that evening. Their songs lend incredibly well to a live setting, and there’s no wonder deemed one of the best live bands around.