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Live Review: Manchester Orchestra & The Xcerts - HMV Library, Birmingham (04/10/2011)

Coming off the wave of this year's critically acclaimed album, 'Simple Math', Manchester Orchestra return to grace the UK once again, this time in the form of a headline tour. Shadowing them are hotly tipped Xcerts who have had a successful year themselves with promoting their sophomore effort 'Scatterbrain' with constant support slots with big names such as Get Cape Wear Cape Fly and, next year, Brand New. Their set consists of a large portion of songs from 'Scatterbrain' with only 'Do you feel safe?' being played at the beginning of their set.

After opening with the morose 'Deer', from 'Simple Math', Manchester Orchestra blast through a set of pure angst and aggression, taking breaks between songs only to wipe the sweat from their brows. Focusing mostly on their newer material but not omitting old favorites such as 'Now That You're Home' as well as the emotional 'Colly Strings'.

Newer additions to their set list sound bombastic and grandiose, the constant tempo changes in 'April Fool' provide sharp jolts counteracted a sludgy guitar. 'Pensacola' also brings forth a giant chorus of audience members shouting along to the giant anthemic chorus. The personal highlight of the night being lead single and title track, 'Simple Math', sounding like an estranged cousin to the original, the change is welcomed in open arms and Andy Hull's voice goes to newer, passionate heights.

The sparse take on 'The Only One', opener to prior album 'Mean Everything to Nothing', shows the versatility in Manchester Orchestra's performance, despite the anticipation that the rest of the band will accompany Hull, the ostentatious sound produced by the rest of the band echoes throughout the rest of Birmingham's ears.

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