Manchester Orchestra

By Eve Cheesmur

Artist:  Manchester Orchestra

Date / Venue:  Monday November 17th, The Powerstation, Auckland

If you know Auckland, you'll know that trying to find a cafe that is open with a warm coffee machine on a Monday, past 3pm is impossible to locate. So when I heard that Manchester Orchestra were playing on a Monday night, I had no other prediction other than hitting the only place that would be open on the first day of the week after the show... the strip clubs.

Alas, once the beers and whisky had played their part on me and I was left waiting, patiently for a lesser known band to take the stage at 10.10pm, I was yawning at the thought of not being in my bed with my cat and bored at the idea of poles and dancers disturbed me.

None the less, I headed along...

The weather in Auckland was bearded, as was the crowd at the Powerstation. I'm not sure what urged the bands' promoters to put on a show on the first school night of the week. Has the city of sails really picked up it's nightlife that much that the rest of the week nights were taken by bigger acts? However, the tried (or was that tired) and true fans showed up, donned in their flannelette jerseys and facial hair to keep them comfy and warm.

There was a sense of calm and community in the Powerstation, and when Atlanta based indie rockers Manchester Orchestra took to the stage, everyone was mesmerised, and then not long after, head banging.

With hauntingly beautiful tracks from their latest Album 'Cope', we swayed and swallowed up the dripping lyrics from lead singer Andy Hull. Although the harmonies were magic and there was an almost gospel quality to the show at times, Andy's voice reminded me somewhat of a uncomfortable flashback to David Gray - tight, constricted and child-like.

The almost recently new drummer Tim Very, put on some pretty sweet beats and was tight with form, and the rest of the band followed suit. Taking the gold star on the fridge for Manchester Orchestra had to hands down be keyboardist/percussionist Chris Freeman, who behaved like he'd just finished a tour with Linkin Park - I've never seen someone work a keyboard and head-bang like Chris did, it was confusing and entertaining.

Every Stone was performed to sonic perfection, and to be fair the rest of the tracks from the Core album were too. They just lacked something, some zing, some zest.

Perhaps I'm being a bit harsh, but it was Monday night, and past my bedtime and I was wanting wow. Instead, I was delivered with beige, a 5 out of 10, a mediocre, an 'OK'.

I'd be just as happy listening to their music at home, with my cat, and a hot chocolate (with a nip of whisky).