Andy Hull (Manchester Orchestra) performed an acoustic set at the Visulite Theater last night…

Andy Hull (Manchester Orchestra) performed an acoustic set at the Visulite Theater last night…

On Sunday, April 3rd, Andy Hull of Manchester Orchestra performed an acoustic set at the Visulite Theater with Casey Crescenzo of the Dear Hunter and Nathan Hussey of All Get Out.  This was only my second time going to a show at the Visulite, but if the last show was anything to go by, I knew it was going to be a great night of music.  I’ve been a fan of Hull’s main band, Manchester Orchestra since their sophomore release in 2009, Mean Everything to Nothing. This show would mark my first time seeing any Manchester Orchestra songs performed live; I was beyond excited. Andy Hull’s honest lyrics and the rawness emoted through his vocals are something I never thought I’d be able to see live, and the fact that I got the chance to see him play songs from all three of his projects is still blowing my mind.  To be totally honest, I’m still smiling about it.

What made the show so special was the intimacy created by the size of the venue and the acoustic performances; all three artists performed acoustic versions of their material from various projects they were in and it created a very relaxed environment inside the Visulite.

I arrived at the venue a little later than I wanted to, but prior engagements kept me from getting a front row seat.  At around 7:30 p.m., I dragged my best friend inside, grabbed a beer, and found a spot in the middle of the second floor.  One of the best things about the Visulite is that no matter where you stand or sit, you’ve got a great spot.

I had no idea what kind of crowd to expect, but I ended up meeting a lot of cool people, mostly in their 20’s, and saw some old high school classmates.  At 8 p.m. on the dot, the lights dimmed and Nathan Hussey of All Get Out strolled onto stage.  It was evident that not many folks knew the songs, but that didn’t stop Hussey from capturing everyone’s attention.

Hussey was charismatic albeit very honest. A member of the audience yelled for him to play a deep track from All Get Out’s latest release, and Hussey looked up from his guitar, smiled withl his teeth, and said, “Nah.” Then proceeded to play his final song. The audience giggled quite a few times as Hussey joked about his guitar playing skills, how quiet the audience was in between songs, and his beard.

Next up was Casey Crescenzo of the Dear Hunter.  He came on stage only minutes after Hussey exited.  Crescenzo was just as charismatic as Hussey, if not more so.  More of the audience members knew Dear Hunter songs and sang along with quite a few.  What was most impressive about his set was the backing vocals the audience provided as Crescenzo sang choruses. Halfway through his set, as he was tuning his guitar for the next song, a fan handed Crescenzo a miniature painting of one of his album covers.  It was clear that he was very appreciative of the fan-made gift and made a point to let the girl know he loved it.

Finally, Andy Hull walked onto the stage and the venue erupted in a loud cheer.  A huge smile crept onto my face and I remember having to take a few deep breaths.  I’ve been to a lot of shows, but there are only a handful of artists who can turn me into a pile of mush; Andy Hull is one of them.  As the crowd cheered, Hull raced over to the microphone, guitar in hand, and said, “I haven’t even done anything yet.” Everyone laughed as he began to play the final track from their latest full-length album, Cope. The room fell silent as Hull’s haunting vocals filled the room.  His ability to make such simple lyrics sounds eerie and sweet at the same time is what drew me to his art in the first place.  From this point on, he played various songs from Manchester Orchestra, Right Away, Great Captain!, and Bad Books albums.  I, along with the entire audience, was mesmerized from start to finish.  Hull made jokes about the movie Babe, talked about his two-year-old daughter, briefly left the stage in search of a capo, and had to use sheet music for a few of his songs; it was the perfect night.  His encore performance was short and sweet, but I could feel the appreciation in every clap as he exited the stage and the audience cheered as if we had just watched him perform at Madison Square Garden.

I would travel miles to see this man perform, but I’m so happy it happened in my backyard! Hull and company travel to Baltimore tomorrow, then to Brooklyn, Allston, and Philadelphia before they return home. If you’re near these cities, go to a show; you won’t regret it.

 

 

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