Manchester Orchestra

Manchester Orchestra (9:55 PM)

Chris Staples (9:00 PM)

Sat, November 8, 2014

8:00 pm

Adv Tix $29.00 / Day of Show Tix $33.00

Sold Out

This event is all ages

Each ticket includes a digital copy of the new Manchester Orchestra record HOPE

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Manchester Orchestra - (Set time: 9:55 PM)
Manchester Orchestra
Searching for the sonic direction of what would become their fourth full-length album, the hard-hitting COPE, earlier this year; Manchester Orchestra discovered something pretty amazing. The unapologetically heavy anthems seemed to work just as well (or even better) when stripped to their essence. “We were noticing that all the beautiful, slow stuff was working with all the really loud and fast stuff,” said lead vocalist, Andy Hull. “The seed was planted to go back and create a full circle of an album.”

So when Hull went into SiriusXM’s Alt-Nation studios and recorded a stripped-down version of “Top Notch” on the eve of releasing COPE this past April, it was with a measured degree of intent. The quiet presentation and simple arrangement forced the song’s warm lyric and beautiful melody to the fore, which actually made the track itself sound bigger. The fan reaction to the new version of “Top Notch” was powerful and instant (as was the great support from SiriusXM), further reinforcing the band’s desire to reshape these songs in a new and different way. Over the summer of 2014, in the same studio where they originally forged COPE; the band re-imagined the songs with a renewed sense of purpose and fresh perspective. Using Fender Rhodes, piano, vocal re-arrangements and strings, Manchester Orchestra, with an assist from illustrious sound mixer Phil Ek (Built To Spill, Beach House, Fleet Foxes), transformed COPE’s eleven tracks into something completely new and mesmerizing: HOPE.

“We were really proud of the stuff we were recording but Phil did an amazing job on the mixes,” Andy notes. “It was the perfect reverb on my voice – I’d never heard my vocals mixed that way.”

Although the track listing on HOPE is identical to its companion, Andy did shift the lyrics on a few tracks, exploring other aspects of the stories he’d told on COPE, hoping to invest the narratives with a fresh perspective. A string quartet recorded parts for several tracks at Red Bull Studios in Los Angeles and the band used those to create textural elements that build on the ethereal aesthetic of the songs. “Our goal was to be as sensitive as possible about not overcrowding the music, and letting it breathe and aiming for pretty,” Andy says. “We aimed for nasty and guttural stuff on COPE and this was more like, ‘How pretty can this be?’ I’ve always liked both sensibilities. This was an opportunity to see if we could sit down and do it for a whole album.”

Altering the arrangements and shapes of the songs also changed their meanings. Andy’s voice is at the forefront of this collection, particularly on “See It Again,” an a cappella song created with nearly 50 tracks of Andy’s vocals. It was nerve-wracking for the singer to highlight his voice so intensely but it also felt like the right time in the band’s career to focus on creating songs with that as the focus. “The lyrics hold a lot more weight on this version, even the same lyrics,” Andy says. “They’re presented differently so the lyrics hit a little harder. COPE was a guitar record – we wanted a lot and we wanted them loud. This puts an emphasis on my voice and puts it up front. I spent a lot of time making sure my performances were all there in the recording so I could feel confident in the vocal being so present.”

“Top Notch,” the surging, gritty rocker song that open COPE, becomes a surprisingly haunting ballad driven by a quiet piano line on HOPE, setting the tone for the songs that follow. The propulsive electric thump of “Girl Harbor” transforms into a shimmering indie rock number as Andy’s soaring voice pairs with slight acoustic guitar while the dynamic aggression of “The Ocean” is now filled with an evocative longing suddenly revealed in the brooding chorus as the heavy instrumentation falls away. The band removes the fuzzed out layers of sound on “Trees,” leaving only a quiet, emotionally affective melody behind, and pulls down the wall of electric guitars on “Every Stone” to showcase the raw power of its poetic lyricism.

The two albums exist both separately and together. Each is its own listening experience, with its own intent and stories. But placed adjacent, COPE and HOPE create a greater meaning, and reveal a musical and philosophical balance for the band. “This is completed with the two albums together,” Andy says. “The idea in writing COPE was to get the songs to be the best they could be as songs regardless of the style and instrumentation. That paid off when doing it the second time around. You realize that music can be dressed in a lot of different ways and in doing that it tells you something new.”
Chris Staples - (Set time: 9:00 PM)
Chris Staples
For some time, Chris Staples was longing for things to return to the way they had been. The way they were before he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and his pancreas failed. Before his bike accident and the resulting hip surgery. Before the dissolution of a long-term relationship. He had been left to pick up the pieces, but for a long time couldn’t bring himself to. “I felt for a several years like I was mourning. Mourning a happier time in my life, or a time when I was more youthful. Everything was different for me after that period in my life.”

But the myths we build about our past are often gilded: we believe things were innocent, that they were whole. Staples, after feeling the seductive pull of that illusion for years, had enough of it. He was going to tear it down. As he began to pick up the pieces of his life, and coincidentally began to write music for a new album to follow his acclaimed 2014 Barsuk debut American Soft, his songs pivoted forward, becoming the new record, to be released in August 2016: Golden Age.

Starting in his hometown in Florida, all the way to the Pacific Northwest, Staples has built a career writing songs in their most immediate form – a moment happens, and to process it he lets a thought or feeling guide the song into being. This mentality has carried him from his first solo record, Panama (2001) to American Soft, and with each album Staples’ core strengths have grown into a subtle brilliance – innate melody, intense allegory, and the deceptive sinew behind songs that could easily be dismissed as merely quiet.

Balancing his music with day jobs in construction and carpentry, and playing at times in other people’s bands, Staples struggled to focus the many parts of his creative life, but didn’t have the capacity to make a change. His life was split between work, split between his home in Seattle and his roots in Florida, where he had always gone to write and record his albums.

But as the songs for Golden Age started to materialize, he resolved to look forward, and consider what he had been balancing. He quit his full time construction job and focused on carpentry; he decided to stay in the Northwest to finish the record . He maintained his natural way of writing – keeping notebooks everywhere, letting an offhand line or a thought point to a song’s direction, but as the album took shape, he crafted it with the express purpose of reorienting his route. Instead of retreating, he took stock of what he had been through and molded it into something he believed in. With this combination of practiced technique and newfound perspective, Golden Age stands as his most intimate, reflective, and exploratory record to date.

Golden Age meets us at the intersection of nostalgia and the future, and holds out a hand. It pulls us back into a moment, and asks us stay there even as our hyperactive minds push to race ahead. “Relatively Permanent” shines a gentle light on the lurking potential end to a happy relationship – but chooses optimism while still recognizing the temptation to foresee disaster. “Vacation” is a lilting, echoing amble, with Staples expanding on the notion that “the idea of a vacation is sort of a vacation in itself,” and meditates on repetition. The title track is a reminder to stop chasing what we know to be fleeting, with a sweet groove that comfortably sways and settles into this wisdom wrapped in lightness.

Staples notes, “It’s really easy to idealize an earlier time in your life, but it’s not useful. It can be a trap that keeps you from finding new good things to live for. Golden Age is about that myth we carry around. The myth of our past being idyllic. I don’t want to waste any more time dwelling on it.”
Venue Information:
9081 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA, 90069

All lineups and times subject to change