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
There are no casual Chris Staples fans. The man inspires devotion. The turnaround from
casual listener to evangelist is nearly instantaneous. Play his music during a road trip with
friends and inevitably someone will ask, “Who is this?” And a lifelong fan is born. Such
is the unaffected power of these songs, of this voice. Chris Staples fandom is rewarding
and lasting (despite his understated approach to promoting his own work, which - as it
should be with all artists - seems secondary to the effort he puts into the making of it).
We follow where he leads, and our numbers are growing.
A phenomenally dexterous guitarist, Staples has spent much of his career so far as a
backing musician for other artists. Over the years he’s played with J. Tillman, later
known as Father John Misty, and toured the world as a member of Telekinesis. Never
content for long, Staples also travels on his own, never settling, never staid. A seasoned
carpenter, he sustains his journeyman lifestyle by working construction jobs wherever he
finds himself living. In the spring of 2014, having recently decamped to the Northwest,
Chris Staples happened to do some work on the home of Josh Rosenfeld, co-founder and
head of Seattle’s renowned Barsuk Records.
One night, Rosenfeld sat down to dinner with Matthew Caws and Michael Benjamin
Lerner, members of Nada Surf and Telekinesis respectively. Rosenfeld recalls, “I knew
Chris from his days in Telekinesis and told Michael that he was installing a screen door at
my house. He and Matthew both told me that I had to hear Chris’s new record, which,
thankfully, I did." The two songwriters raved about the album, and insisted that Barsuk
had to release it. Rosenfeld - and the entire staff of the label - agreed heartily, and
American Soft became Staples’ debut Barsuk release. Continues Rosenfeld, "The hooks
are great - subtle and elegant - and his voice has a soft raspy ease to it that I could listen
to all day."
American Soft is a bicoastal record, written partly in Washington State, the hardworking
timberland home to grizzled locals and Midwestern expatriates, and also in Florida, the
wild and weird American outland known as much for strange crime and cutting-edge
nightclubs as for family theme parks and extravagant retirement communities. Staples
wrote portions of American Soft while squatting in his abandoned childhood home, a
Pensacola bungalow empty save for an old piano. “I slept on a Coleman cot for two
months. The yard was overgrown up to my waist,” Staples remembers. “The neighbor
lady across the street used to babysit me. I ran into her one day and she didn’t even
recognize me. I hadn’t seen her in 15 years.”
American Soft’s musical ideas are at once diverse and cohesive, the lyrics both direct and
lushly impressionistic. The sunny “Black Tornado,” built around a spritely ukulele
strummed to a looped handclap-and-kickdrum beat, stands as the record’s poppiest track
even as the foreboding cyclone shows up in the chorus. Upon first listen, the soft and
sublime “Dark Side of the Moon” plays as a simple and strong declaration of a desire to
love. On that level it works beautifully and completely satisfies. However, the title
suggests something more, some deeper connection to the classic album with which it’s
shared. Indeed, Staples’ gorgeous “Dark Side of the Moon” is more than the sweet, gentle
love song it seems on first listen; it is a dream of a dream of a dream.
“The Pink Floyd album of the same name is pretty vague in its meaning,” Staples
explains. “It's the second-best selling album of all time. There are message boards
dedicated to interpretations of Dark Side of the Moon. I've read hundreds of
interpretations of what this album means exactly. My song is based on someone’s idea of
what that album is about. It's really a song about people who obsess about hidden
messages or meanings. Maybe the album meant nothing and that's why it resonated with
so many people. It was vague enough for people to construct these visions within the
album Pink Floyd made.”
Staples’ songs are, in the tradition of the best songwriters, fantastically economical. No
moment is wasted, no idea indulged beyond necessity. Instrumental breaks occur but
don’t linger, serving their purpose and slipping quickly back into verses. American Soft
features only a single traditional bridge, on the straight-ahead almost-rocker “Needle
Park,” which finishes with a short dual-guitar explosion, an explosion which ends
suddenly, as suddenly as it began, a fleeting moment leaves us wanting more, always
more, in the best way. Chris Staples has devoted the whole of his life to fostering that
illusive magic, to passing it on, to giving and giving ‘til it’s all gone. Fortunately for us,
he’s only just begun.
Barsuk Records will release Chris Staples' American Soft on August 12th, 2014.
Venue Information:
9081 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA, 90069

All lineups and times subject to change