Manchester Orchestra at Royal Oak Music Theatre
Updated: Jan 2, 2020
Manchester Orchestra very fittingly decided to wrap up an eventful decade with their "Mean Everything to Nothing" 10 year anniversary tour. The tour celebrates the 2009 studio album of the same name, and a decade marked by four new albums and hundreds of shows for the indie-rock band from Atlanta. The band brought along a few friends for the tour, both Foxing and Oso Oso opened at Royal Oak Music Theatre on December 5th. The show was one of the last of the two month run, but the performers showed no signs of fatigue and brought energy comparable only to that of the lively audience.
Oso Oso and Foxing were both known by concert-goers who had no trouble singing along with the two bands, providing an energetic atmosphere for the headliners. The screams of the crowd were equally matched by lead singer of Foxing, Conor Murphey. With his oversized sweater pulled against his face, purposefully stumbling and dancing across the stage, he seemed to completely enveloped in the performance. Foxing also treated the audience to a new song before leaving the stage to the highly anticipated Manchester Orchestra.
Manchester Orchestra ambitiously went through the whole 12 track record, starting with the exciting and upbeat rhythm of “Only One” to the quiet goodbye of “Jimmy, He Whispers.” Even adding a few songs from their 2017 release "A Black Mile To The Surface" to the mix.
Frontman Andy Hull offered no backstory for the songs but plainly dove into the album headfirst and did not come up for air till the very end; submerging the entire theatre in the reasoning bass and crippling lyrics. Hull’s voice was stitched to the bellowing voices of those screaming along with his to the lyrics “I am fine/ I am fine/ I am fine” and “Now I can see/ You mean everything to nothing.” His voice barely audible above that of the crowd’s.
Surprisingly, when the band began the final song, the once spirited crowd fell silent. As Hull quietly whispered “And we're brothers and that's alright/ Yeah, we're brothers until we die,” to the soft strumming of his guitar, his raspy but clear voice echoed the farewell to the “brothers” that gathered to watch the performance that evening.
As Manchester Orchestra left the stage for the final time, and Hull waved to the screaming crowd, mouthing the words “thank you,” there was a sense that the tour not only celebrated their sophomore album Mean Everything to Nothing, but also celebrated the fans- both new and old- that stuck with them and made the decade a special one for the band.