By: David Israel
“This is going to be fun.”
Manchester Orchestra front man Andy Hull wasn’t lying to the young, packed audience at House of Blues on Tuesday night. Looking like everything about him except his beard had shrunk to about half the original size since the band’s last stop in San Diego, Hull and his band mates didn’t disappoint. After opening with favorites from the band’s two prior albums, Means Everything to Nothing and Simple Math, Hull finally introduced Manchester Orchestra, said his hellos, and dove in to the band’s newest record, Cope.
“Don’t worry, we’ll play all the hits. And by that I mean any song that got remotely close to airtime on alternative radio.”
While any of the three most recent albums are a great listen start to finish, the band makes the live show worthwhile, showcasing both their strong instrumentals and Hull’s crystal clear voice. The band pleased the crowd early, rocking through 2009’s I’ve Got Friends and Cope’s Top Notch.
“Whoever threw their own shoe up here, you’re out of luck. That shit is gone.”
The crowd was active from the first note, singing along and starting a pit for the upbeat numbers. The floor contained an interesting mix of those who clearly knew every word and those who seemed along for the ride, making some die-hards dancing throughout the show on HOB’s balcony somewhat of a side show for less interested parties.
Beginning the encore by calling up Kevin Devine, who opened the show with Kevin Devine and the Goddamn Band, Manchester Orchestra took a song off while Devine, Hull, and guitarist/keyboardist Robert McDowell played a number from their other band, Bad Books, before returning to the stage as Manchester Orchestra and finishing the strong set with The River, and sending the crowd streaming back in to downtown San Diego.
Those who missed the show can expect a bootleg DVD copy to be released by the dude three people over from me, who taped the entire show on his Flipcam, apparently not realizing that it’s 2014.