Atlanta’s Manchester Orchestra doesn’t just have a clever name. The Andy Hull-fronted group has always had an epic, anthemic sound.
But with their latest album, 2011′s Simple Math, Manchester Orchestra put out a hard-rocking effort that includes strings, choirs, brass and massive arrangements.
And even though they perform live as a five-piece, none of it is lost.
Take Saturday’s show at the Mojave Tent at Coachella.
Filled nearly to the brim with fans, Manchester Orchestra put on a series of mini rock operas in every song.
Much of it has to do with Hull’s songwriting, which has evolved throughout the 25-year-old’s prolific career — Manchester Orchestra alone has three full-lengths and several EPs out, not to mention Hull’s side projects. He has always shown a talent for putting together multi-faceted pieces, but they have typically dealt with heartache or angst.
On Saturday, the third offering of the set was the piano-accompanied “My Friend Marcus,” which devolved into a rumbling angst-ridden tale of abuse.
Two songs later was “I’ve Got Friends,” where Hull offers a killer hook by growling “I’ve got friends in all the right places. I know what they want, and they don’t want me to stay.”
Both of those come off 2009′s Mean Everything to Nothing.
Manchester Orchestra also had two standouts with “I Can Barely Breathe” and an epic closer with “The River” from 2006′s I’m Like a Virgin Losing a Child.
While the themes of the songs haven’t really changed a lot, it’s clear after hearing a few new tunes that Manchester Orchestra has taken a step forward.