LIVE REVIEW >> Manchester Orchestra at Leeds Beckett University Union

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Leeds Beckett University Union // Saturday, October 4, 2014


MANCHESTER ORCHESTRA are the best band in the world right now, so we may as well get that out of the way. Progressive yet absolute in their approach to creating pop music, they are exciting and traditional simultaneously and we’re lucky to have them.

So obviously I’m going to waffle on about how great they are when I went to see them perform at Leeds Beckett University Union.

What’s particularly great about this tour is that singer Andy Hull’s best friend and troubadour KEVIN DEVINE is the support act – an incredible musician and singer songwriter in his own right, as well as BAD BOOKS which are a kind of ‘supergroup’ made up of all the players in MO and Kevin’s backing band.

So basically we think we’re walking into a classic rock concert, but what we get is so much more. We get a group of true friends, messing about, making jokes and having the best laugh on stage. And it’s so contagious.

Bad Books are like Manchester Orchestra but with 70s Americana influences and huge choruses – amazing. And Kevin Devine is the perfect bridge between these and Manchester Orchestra, beautifully delicate singing and perfect songwriting.

Manchester Orchestra have had a funny time on this current tour. Rumours of bad ticket sales and downgraded venues mean that the band are visibly ecstatic to find that good ol’ Leeds is absolutely packed to the rafters, full to the brim with rabid fans.

Young emo girls brush shoulders with old bearded plaid-shirted dudes like me and that’s what’s so great about this band – there’s something for everyone here.

Manchester Orchestra have five records under their belt, so I can imagine its pretty tough to please everyone, but I felt that the setlist was really strong, a good mix of old and new, plus with the ommitance of lasers and dragons coming out of the PA (they’re not that kinda band maaaan), you have just five guys onstage performing incredible songs full of emotion and tension.

Frontman Andy Hulls’ ability to swoop from maniacal screaming to a whispered beauty is mesmerising and breathtaking, the perfect leader of this band of merry men.

If you’re reading this thinking “oh, this band sound great”, stop being a dork and go buy some Manchester Orchestra records immediately.

This gig was really fucking good. The support bands were really fucking good. Knowing that these bands exist and will continue to perform and write incredible music makes me feel like the world is, yes – really fucking good.

Harry George Johns

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