Thursday, July 31, 2014

Manchester Orchestra at Mr. Smalls - Interview and Ticket Giveaway - August 3, 2014

Atlanta post-hardcore indie rockers Manchester Orchestra headline Mr. Smalls this Sunday, July 3, in support of their new album, Cope. The album is the heaviest one the band has released to date, and its no surprise that its been receiving rave reviews from critics. All Music Guide said Cope is the sound of the band "at their best," while Alternative Press called it "a completely worthy addition to an already strong alt-rock catalog."

I agree that this is their best album yet. I liked the band's earlier singles, but I could never really sink my teeth into the full LPs. Cope, however, is sturdy all the way through; it doesn't suffer from the same drop off on Side B that their first three albums did. And it definitely rocks; this might be your new workout album.

Here's the rollicking first single off of Cope, "Top Notch." 

We were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to ask the band's keyboardist/percussionist, Chris, some questions about the new album and band's current tour:

Pittsburgh Music Report: The band's new album is relentless. Are you finding that the effort that goes into performing these new songs affects the older ones as well? Is the whole set just cranked up to 11 now?

Chris Freeman: I feel like COPE more represented what we were doing live already, so we
moreso just gave ourselves more songs to play in that vein. I feel like we turned up to 11 a few years ago and we're just trying to keep it up.

PMR: Speaking of the new album, was it a conscious decision to crank out something much heavier than before? Or did you just start laying down tracks and realize that was the direction the band was headed in?

CF: When we were writing for COPE we were writing songs all over the map; we had some really soft songs, a few more jammy ones and some really great heavy ones. The heavy ones just seemed to stick out more and felt more natural. Once we had the collection of songs for COPE, we sort of just knew which ones were supposed to go together.

PMR: I was watching you guys perform "Cope" on Letterman and at the end Paul Shaffer called it "white people party music." It seemed like you were all laughing after he said it. Is that an accurate label for Manchester Orchestra?

CF: Haha, he was making a reference to the record that Nick Cannon was promoting on the same episode. I'm not sure if we make party music but it was funny as hell for sure.

PMR: We just had your buddies O'brother here a few months ago when they opened for The Sword. Tell us another band from the Atlanta area we should keep an eye out for.

CF: Big Jesus

PMR: I'm pretty sure that the last time you guys were in Pittsburgh was in 2011, when you headlined an awesome bill with White Denim and The Dear Hunter. Any memories from your time in town, during that tour or others?

CF: Last time we were there we hung out in the venue after the show for a few hours listening to records and talking with all of the crew. We always feel really comfortable at Mr. Smalls because everyone seems to treat you like family. I also ate a hotdog with skittles cooked into it last time I
was there so that usually constitutes as a good day.

PMR: Lastly, I see that you guys play a pair of huge music festivals - Osheaga and Lollapalooza - on the two nights prior to when you play Pittsburgh. Please promise that you'll leave something in the tank for us!

CF: We'll still have something in the tank for you guys, no worries! We're excited to be back on the road so we'll give it everything we've got

Tickets to the show are available via Ticketweb for $19. Or, you can enter to win a pair a tickets through us, PGH Music Report. To enter, simply email your name to, and put "Manchester Orchestra" in the subject line. We'll announce a winner Saturday.

Opening are The Mowgli’s and Brick & Mortar. The Mowgli's played Altar Bar last year with American Authors and Buried Beds, and again at Smalls in 2012, with Walk Off The Earth.

-- B. Conway

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