I've seen Portland's The Builders And The Butchers several times now and they always put on an incredible show with constant percussion from two drummers playing side by side on a non-traditional kit, but I was wondering how they'd pull off a bigger venue because the crowd can't quite participate as they can in a small venue, but they used the space to their advantage, having the crowd sing mixed parts, join in on handclaps, and finishing with "When It Rains", they still had their suitcase of tambourines and shakers that they threw to the crowd. I even think they got most of it back, though I had to tell a dude his children's plastic tambourine wasn't a souvenir.
I was really looking forward to seeing Manchester Orchestra because I had a conflicting show the last time they were here on the HoB sidestage. The last time I caught them was at Epicentre when their first record dropped. Seeing how they have grown, not only as musicians but from boys to men, I realized just how long ago that was. Their music is incredibly intense, taking the audience on a journey to quiet whispers all the way to the screaming climaxes of every song. I was happy to hear "Where Have You Been?", especially because I think even my iTunes how many times I've played that song, and usually 5 or 6 times in a row in one sitting or car ride. Their set list seemed short to me, but most of the songs had these epic flourishes that extented each song to about 5 or 6 minutes. I definitely got my fill of selections from both records.
Last up for the night was Brand New. Chickrawker accompanied me to the show and told me there are three bands she will follow around the country on tour: NIN, Kings of Leon, and Brand New. I, on the other hand, have never listened to their music but once they performed, I wondered how I missed that boat, because I'll take a good emo band here and there...in small doses, but I'm not gonna act like I don't have a Dashboard Confessional CD or two. The crowd certainly loved this band and sang along to every word, in fact, so much that singer Jesse at times seemed to not really singing at full capacity so he could listen to the crowd singing back at them. They also had incredible lighting on stage for every song that made watching them and snapping photos even more fun, especially when dodging kids crowd surfing overhead and falling into the photo pit. In the bathroom I heard a girl bawling her eyes out, the kind of crying that makes you lose your breath, and I was taken back to times that I've cried like that...like when my 8th grade boyfriend moved to Texas...and I guess it is from that place that I enjoyed the show. I only wish I had known the words to join in the singalong fun.
I took a ton of pictures and posted some more of them, along with the setlists for Manchester Orchestra and Brand New if you click 'keep on reading'. Note that Chickrawker has the songs in actual order for Man. O. because they played out of order from the setlist. The bands will play night two at House of Blues tonight. The show is sold out, but if you plan on going, get there early, as it is an all ages show. First band is on at 7:30 and the show is done by 10:45.