Monday, November 4, 2013

Show Preview: Manchester Orchestra w/ The Front Bottoms & O'Brother

Manchester Orchestra will perform at Cat's Cradle
on Saturday, Nov. 9 with The Front Bottoms & O'Brother
Rarely does a band strike me the way that Manchester Orchestra does, so needless to say anytime I get the chance to see these guys display their poignant brand of indie rock I jump all over it. They've come a long way from touring the southeast with former local standouts like The Never and Annuals, now they're performing at House of Blues' and hosting their own festival in Atlanta, but whenever they stop through at Cat's Cradle it's always a momentous affair. Manchester Orchestra has been off the road for some time now, working on new music for a forthcoming album and generally catching up on some presumably much needed rest from a constantly hectic tour schedule. However, this Saturday is going to be one of those truly special nights that acts like Manchester Orchestra are only capable of. Joined by former labelmates O'Brother and The Front Bottoms, Cat's Cradle is slated for a night filled with aggressively emotive rock ranging from head-banging ambient heavy rock to introspective indie rock anthems.

O'Brother will start off the evening with the equivalent of a musical kick in the teeth. These guys started out as an experimental indie rock outfit from Atlanta and have gradually morphed into an ambient take on hard-rock that still harkens back to their ethereal beginnings. This Sriracha loving band of musicians knows how to play into the ebb and flow of dynamics, one minute vocalist Tanner Merritt is crooning over a gently picked guitar line and the next you've got the Dang brothers flinging their long black hair around as your eardrums begin screaming out in sweet, sweet pain. They take the heavy-quiet-heavy dynamic and run it over with their barreling wall of sound, choosing to craft their own sense of sonic structure rather than fill in pre-determined molds.

If you're not already plagued with a bang-over from the guttural rock sounds of O'Brother then you'll probably find yourself bouncing and bobbing to the infectious sounds of The Front Bottoms. While many may label the band as a pop-punk leaning outfit, there's much more sincerity and diversity within this group to write them off as such. While some songs may follow simplistic structures, it doesn't take long to realize that The Front Bottoms are about as gritty and inclusive as one could hope for. "Who am I kidding, I can't get past you" belts vocalist Brian Sella on "Skeleton," a track from their latest album Talon of the Hawk. "You are the cops, you are my student loans." There's no filter here, just unapologetic indie rock with punk leanings. So frankly they'll serve as a perfect opener for a band as sincere and boisterous as Manchester Orchestra.

Manchester will surely expend every fiber of energy possible for this set, hell I've seen the band play for nearly two hours before at the Cradle. Their shows are communal in every since of the word, much like The Front Bottoms' and O'Brothers' shows. Fans aren't just fans, they're die hards. Words are shouted back, emotions are palpable. These songs are more than just words for these fans, they're places in time that can't be replaced. I'll never forget shouting along to "Golden Ticket" at the now defunct Soapbox in Wilmington, clasped to a railing whilst silently praying that the buckling floor doesn't break beneath the weight of hundreds of Manchester die hards. Now the band will surely fill out the bulk of Cat's Cradle, much like they have in previous years. But this renovated Cat's Cradle hasn't seen Manchester before, much like we've all yet to see what sort of new songs Manchester has in store for us. It's going to be an incredible night of music punctuated by powerful performances from every act on the bill. It's hard to recall when I was this excited for a single bill, but all I know is that Saturday night will surely be one of the standout shows of the year for me.

Doors will open at 7:30 and the show will begin at 8:30. Tickets are $17 in advance and $20 at the door. Tickets are available at

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