Gig Review

Manchester Orchestra
Heaven, London
17th November 2009
Manchester Orchestra      Talons     
This was my first visit to Heaven, an unlikely choice for the home of so many upcoming gigs, and not bad ones either. And as I was soon to discover, the room in which the music is, actually has a fantastic sound. Quite a high stage looks over the long room, but it's really good.

Talons were the warm-up act, an instrumental six-piece from Hereford, featuring two guitars, a bass, two violins and drums. Quite a line-up, and live, wow, what a sound. Ball-rattling riffs with dark haunting strings, oozing Biffy Clyro in its tone and structure. It was a joy to listen to, and really exciting. However, that's where Talons should remain, playing live. Their studio recordings in no way capture the grandure of their sound that rocks you to the core. Also unfortunately, most of them seriously lack charisma – and when you're listening to such awesome sounds you don't want to see a violinist who looks like Chess Club captain, snuffing his feet around in a nervous manner, and the only person to talk to the crowd has a nervous squeaky voice and nothing to say. Meanwhile the guitarist is going nuts with the rock stance and rock face and I don't think I've ever seen anyone hit drums as hard as the drummer. And a risk with a reasonably nishe sound and no vocals is that a lot of stuff sounds the same. And I suppose it did, but to listen to, it was good same.

When Manchester Orchestra took to the stage, everyone was buzzing. After putting out what I consider to be one of the best releases of 2009, this was to be an amazing show. And so it started, and we were all in awe. Andy Hull thrashing away wildly at his guitar and screaming intently into his microphone, Robert McDowell (who looks more and more like Howard Moon every day) going at it to stage left, Jon Corley on the bass, barely moving, casually playing along staring off up into the rafters somewhere, Chris Freeman going ape on the keys, screaming away whether into the microphone or not, occasionally spinning round to a floor-tom and snare and bashing along with Jeremiah Edmond the drummer. And then the band would leave and only Andy would remain, singing solo with his guitar, playing various slow poignant songs from the older albums as the room stood amazed in silence at the spectable before them. Well, I say silence. There were a handful of dicks who heckled, shouted various nonsense and jumped about in the crowd aggravating everyone, including the band. And at moments like this, with such beautiful songs being played, that even a whisper could be heard – so it's generally best to shut the fuck up. The offenders left during the penultimate song, but the damage was clearly done, as the rest of us were robbed of our encore. But what we did get to see, was everything to be expected from the album, and a little bit more. Although I didn't get to see my favourite “In My Teeth,” we were treated to “Do You Really Like Being Alone,” “Wolves At Night,” “The Only One,” “Shake It Out,” “I've Got Friends,” “Pride,” “My Friends Marcus,” “Everything To Nothing,” and more. Fantastic live, just fantastic.

Talons 4.5/5
Manchester Orchestra 4.5/5

Review By Thom Curtis

 Manchester Orchestra



Oliver Steels
Reuben Brunt
Sam Little
Chris Hicks
Alex MacDougall
Sam Jarvis

 Band Related Links
Manchester Orchestra Myspace
Talons Myspace
 Review Score Code
- Top Cheese
- Brilliant
- Pretty damn good
- Ok I guess
- What Was That?