Thrice & Manchester Orchestra @ The Great Saltair 11/1/2011

I think it would be very difficult to find a better lineup than the one for this show. At least a lineup with seven bands, which is a few too many. There was no way I would pass it up with Thrice and O’Brother playing, though. I thought maybe since they were all pretty decent bands it wouldn’t be so bad, but towards the end of the night your brain might be still having a good time, but you back sure isn’t. Luckily for me I’m a pretty strict adherent to the whole mind being greater than the body philosophy.

It could have been an even longer show for me than it was because we showed up a little late and missed the first one or two songs by Moving Mountains. I was excited to hear them, I’d heard a lot of good things about their album “Pneuma,” but during their quick set nothing really interested me into further checking them out. Sure there were a few scattered rhythms here and there that I liked, but as a whole I was pretty indifferent to what these guys were doing.

We moved from the Mountains on the O’Brother, which is a band that is seriously competing to be among my favorites of all. My excitement before the show and enjoyment during for O’Brother was only beaten by Thrice. They’ve been touring a lot recently and it has paid off for them because each time I’ve seen them they’ve put on a better show than the last. They’re new songs on the upcoming album Garden Window are seriously awesome, and I hope that album propels them into bigger success. Then maybe when I see them live they can play more than four songs. Their music is smart, diverse, heavy, and beautiful, although they didn’t show us much of their softer side with the songs they played. They opened with “Machines” I think they played part one and two, and then went into “Division of Man,” and then “Poison!” and “Lay Down.” Did I mention that I can’t wait for  Garden Window in two weeks. With a scruffy looking Leo Dicaprio as the front man and the direct descendant of Atilla the Hun on bass you know these guys are going to rock.

Up next was The Dear Hunter and just once I wish I could swap these guys out for Deerhunter, the better hunter of deers. I don’t know what it is about these guys, but I can’t get into them. Ironically I’ve now seen them more than any other band, because they always seem to be opening for bands that I really want to see like Thrice, mewithoutYou, or in the case of 4 months ago O’brother opened for them. To be honest this was probably my favorite time seeing these guys. It was probably due to the fact that they could only play five songs. The first song they played was really good, but it didn’t take long for them to lose me after that.

Things changed up for a bit as we wrapped up the indie/alt rock scene and La Dispute led us into a post-hardcore phase. I enjoyed these guys about as much as I enjoyed The Dear Hunter. The music rocked pretty good at times, but the biggest enjoyment came from the lead singer. Not because of his singing, but because of his dance moves. It is hard to describe, but he moved in a really unique sort of stiff-limbed way. I imagine it would be something like what you would get from that old, peg-legged, fisherman from Family Guy trying to dance. Throughout the whole set his delivery never changed, it was just barking indecipherable words, and that alone isn’t a problem for me. I don’t care if I don’t understand what their saying, but he never changed his tone or his pitch and I got a little bored with it. Eventually I just ignored him and listened to the other guys rocking out and they were pretty good.

Next up was our favorite jam band White Denim. The competition for that top spot isn’t all that fierce being that they are the only jam band I’ve seen live, but don’t let that fool you. They are really entertaining. They just rock. I’m not sure how long their songs are on their albums, but during their live show it seems like most of their song structure slips away and you’re left with 4 guys just jamming. One song blended into the next and it was easy to lose track of how long they played and how many songs they played. It could have been two songs, and it could have been 5, but the world will never know for sure.

At last we made it to the headliners. Manchester Orchestra was first and they did a good job. I’ve seen them do better though. We didn’t get any humorous banter that I’ve come to enjoy of these guys, so that was disappointing. I also am curious about their decisions on the setlist. I don’t think they played any songs from I’m Like a Virgin Losing a Child, and they really didn’t play all that many new songs. I was looking forward to see “Simple Math,” “Virgin” and “Pensicola” but our ears were never graced with those great tunes. Overall though it was great, Andy Hull has a special intensity that he brings to the live shows. “Shake it Out” and ‘The River” were especially intense and they slowed down “The Only One” into an acoustic song which was also really cool.

And so, after 5 hours of rocking good times Thrice came on to send us home. They started off with a few off of their new record “Yellow Belly,” “Promises” and “Call it in the Air.” At some point after that they played “The Earth Will Shake” which has become somewhat of a staple in their live shows. Between O’Brother, La Dispute and Moving Mountains there were five or six extra drums on the stage for the epic ending of that song. Another highlight for me was when they played “Words in the Water,” that song is amazing, and I was super excited that they played it. I was also hoping to hear “Listen Through Me” and “Treading Paper” but you can’t always get what you want. They played a few more songs in there “Silhouette,” “The Weight,” “All the World is Mad,” and “Firebreather” before they left us. Then we called them up for one more and they played “To Awake and Avenge the Dead.” It was awesome, everybody was pumped. Even the security personel were rocking out. Dustin came out into the crowd standing on peoples shoulders, vocally assaulting the mike as intense as I’ve ever seen the guy. It was a fantastic finish to an exceptional show.


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