Monday, March 10, 2008

The Manchester Orchestra are good, young

My first brush with The Manchester Orchestra came at ACL Festival 2007, when they accompanied the solo, acoustic Kevin Devine for a few songs during his Saturday 11:00am set. The sound of Devine with the band was incendiary, especially on "Just Stay" and "Cotton Crush." So much so, in fact, that I immediately had two thoughts. First, I regretted missing M.O.'s ACL show from the day before, and second, I needed to check out their music. When I got home to Houston, here's what I learned: (a) they're from Atlanta; (b) they're ridiculously young (average age: 19), and (c) they're really, really good. Their first full-length album, I'm Like a Virgin Losing a Child (2006), features "The Neighborhood is Bleeding," "Wolves at Night," and "Where Have You Been?" The songs are interesting, yet familiar in a late-'80s indie sort of way. The band is getting the attention it deserves: not only did the boys appear on Letterman and Conan this past fall, but they have also toured with Kevin Devine, Kings of Leon (whom I hate), and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, among others. This, in addition to having played Bonnaroo and ACL, and playing in this year's Coachella (coming up in April). How envious am I of the idea of being 19 and playing in a rock band on Letterman and at major rock festivals? Ten envious. (By the way, in the photo above, that fair maiden in the back row who looks like Dave Grohl is no maiden. It's just a dude with long hair. His name is Robert McDowell. You can look it up!)

Here they are, performing "Wolves at Night" on Letterman last September:

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