. “Interview with O’Brother”
Posted on 18 June 2011.
. “Interview with O’Brother”
Posted on 24 May 2011.
Currently on tour with Manchester Orchestra and Cage The Elephant, O’Brother is gearing up for a late summer album release, as well as touring throughout the year. The band just released a new song performed with Andy Hull of Manchester Orchestra. Check out the video below:
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Posted on 23 March 2010.
Every so often, reality slaps me hard across the face. Reality: Manchester Orchestra is a phenomenal live band and they’ve only gotten better with time and their much deserved success. Reality: not everyone is as aware of this band as they should be because they’re not quite on the musical plain that I’m on. So when explaining this tour to my friends, I had to pick my jaw up from the floor and explain that no, Manchester Orchestra was not a futbol/soccer team and that while musically gifted, they weren’t even an orchestra. In my best attempt to describe their sound pre-show, I likened them to Brand New if Brand New had the chance to grow up in a southern rock scene, but even that description I didn’t feel was right. In truth, coming up with bands that they sound nothing like (i.e. Godsmack, Staind, Madonna) is a much easier task than drawing comparisons to which bands they’re akin.
Man O’s Atlanta brethren O’Brother opened up. In a failed attempt to judge books by their covers, I thought the v-necks and plaid meant these would have been more of the folk-southern rock, but once they began that notion went out the window. This was a hard set that was heavy with pounding drums. Earnest, but raw lyrics punched through with the beats. It was a bit too much for me though and I ached for a little reprieve from each of the hard-hitting numbers this group continued to deliver. It looked like Manchester’s Chris Freeman might have been filling in on drums for them, but from the scant information I’ve found online about this group, I have been unable to confirm that.
As a complete counter to O’ Brother was Scotland’s very popular Biffy Clyro. The shirtless trio covered in tattoos looked like they would deliver a harder set and from the half tune I overheard on the radio, I was expecting something along the lines of Blue October, but instead I got more of a power pop trio with traces of grunge. The tunes were ridiculously catchy, so I can see why they’re so popular in the UK. Singer Simon Neil cracked a smile as he hit the chorus to “Mountains,” which was probably due to pleasant surprise that this American audience knew the song better than expected. From their energetic live show to their charismatic tunes, it shouldn’t be long before they gain the recognition in the States that they’ve already garnered in Europe.
Biffy Clyro Set List:
Many of Horror
Perhaps my favorite opener of the night was the folk rock act of Tennessee’s The Features. While previous acts got the crowd moving with moshing action, this group had people clapping and singing along. I was blown away by some of the harmonies and dynamic control (I’m often impressed when vocals are still powerful despite the singer standing several feet away from microphones). As one of my friends pointed out, they’re like Kings of Leon, except you can actually understand what they’re saying. Perhaps that parallel is why the Features were the first act to sign to the Kings of Leon’s imprint.
The Features Set List:
The Drawing Board
The Way It’s Meant to Be
Me & the Skirts
The Temporary Blues
Finally it was the act that all had been waiting for: Manchester Orchestra.
I’m so used to singer Andy Hull hiding under a hat and behind a full beard that his appearance at the microphone sans hat and hair semi back out of his face, tucked behind his ears, was a shock, but a testament to how comfortable he’s become with the Kansas City audience.
They started things off with their light-hearted “50 Cent is my favorite rapper” number:
From there they delved into their popular, fast-driven tunes that inspire moshing, head-bobbing and even dancing and demand singing along. “Marcus” and “Shake It Out” especially stood out as Hull went from his yowl-like vocals on the verses into the full out rock vocals of the choruses. The band treated the audience to a new number and the promise of new material in the late summer before jumping back to more of their popular hits. Freeman, as always, was fascinating to watch as he did everything from playing extra drums to playing keys with his shirt pulled over his head to air guitar as he got swept away in the band’s music.
The band was thankful for the audience-love they were receiving, but not without limits.
“I hate to burst your bubble, but clapping isn’t going to work to work on this tune. It’s a slower, serious number. Nothing against participation, but just not here.” -Hull said to the audience at the beginning of “Colly Strings,” one of the more emotionally open numbers and the calm of this amazing music storm of a show.
Participation was incredibly encouraged on radio hit “I’ve Got Friends” and on the beast of a song extension of “Where Have You Been?” “I’ve Got Friends” was a little all over the place tempo-wise and I imagine those going to hear a duplicate of the recording will be a bit dismayed. However, I for the most part, am a fan of this band experimenting on their live song versions, so when they ended the night with a 15-minute version of “Where Have You Been,” which is jokingly referred to as “Where Have You Been, Bitch?” on the set list, I went home a happy camper as did the rest of the audience.
If there was one thing that I learned from this show, it’s that you can’t judge a book by its cover. Biffy Clyro covered in tattoos had an edgy look, but pop rock tunes. O’Brother looked like indie folksters, but heavy southern rock music. Manchester Orchestra at first look or listen might be easy to understate or not understand, but are truly genius. Now, I know that I can’t force my music taste on everyone, but I don’t understand how anyone can come out of a show like that unhappy or at least respectful of the brilliance they just witnessed. Some other Kansas publications (give you a clue: their name rhymes with the bitch) have had the audacity to describe this band as boring and they were disrespectful enough to not even bother getting band member names right in previous reviews. That just proves to me that they weren’t at the same show as me and the hundreds of other sweating fans. It shows that they slept through brilliant line twists like “You mean everything to nothing; you mean everything to me.” It proves that they are just ignorant and poorly-researched.
So Manchester Orchestra, if you’re reading this, forget what other publications said. And while I’m just a humble blog reviewer, you really do mean everything to me.