Thursday, April 23, 2009

Fun. & Manchester Orchestra Nashville Review

- Kara Wenthe

Tuesday, April 21st, in Nashville, TN, Manchester Orchestra’s CD Release/ Tour Kickoff Show at Exit/In started out with pop-rock Winston Audio. It’s nothing too wonderful, like something I would enjoy in the heat of the Cornerstone Festival, but never buy their CD or even bother to pirate their music from the internet –a one night stand sort of enjoyment without the enduring commitment and title of “fan.”

Then came the artsy sounds of The Audrye Sessions, whose female bass player (how’s that for feminism?) hand sews and crafts their merch while on the road. Her produce included scarves and purses embroidered with owls constructed out of recycled fabrics. She really did inspire me and spark my interest with her DIY promotion. Their set was nothing too wonderful, minus the last song in which the vocalist experimented with proximity to the mic, creating a DIY vocal effect. Something the sound guys could have easily altered with the twist of a knob, I assume. That should have been my first cue.

The shoddy sound crew slightly sucked the fun out of Fun’s performance. Kurt the Flirt, my companion at this artistic performance, whose knowledge in the art of sound far exceeds my own, winced and rubbed his ears a few times; he credited the painful expressions to the work of the sound crew. Despite technical difficulties, after an extra twenty unnecessary minutes of setup Fun front man, Nate Reuss, counted off into Benson Hedges, a first Fun original. Their first record should be released in a few months, some of which they played, revealing an influence of Freddie Mercury meets the Format. Making fun of their roots, the band covered two Format songs, “The First Hit Single” and “Snails” to keep the party going. A Christopher Walken look-alike in the crowd had his hips groovin’ to the beats, a good sign I’m sure. GC’s own Jonathan Goldstein is the man behind the beats for Fun on this tour (see Tadlock’s article). Check them out in Covington, Kentucky, or Kansas City, Missouri May 7th or 11th in consecutive shows, hope for better quality sound, and see myspace for details, yeah? (

Headlining band, Manchester Orchestra, just released a new album Tuesday, April 21st. I was pretty pumped with the new release; their presence was phenomenal—at least the sound crew experienced redemption during this set. Manchester played all the new and old album favorites and hits, including “I’ve Got Friends,” “Shake It Out,” “I Can Barely Breathe,” and an acoustic version of “The Only One.” Front man Andy Hull covered a WILCO song about Bob Dylan’s beard and made a pop culture reference to fml in the form of song. And his wit prevailed as he added a circumstantial fourth verse just before the slow skin peeling portion of “Shake It Out.” It went a little something like: “If you want to mosh / don’t push little girls / because it’s rude.” Of course, I got clocked by an arm-flailing enthusiast immediately before this heartfelt addition.

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