Phonotonal

Manchester Orchestra
Live at O2 Forum Kentish Town

There were two queues in London on Friday and only one of them was for the Manchester Orchestra concert at O2 Forum in Kentish Town after previously playing in Manchester. If you didn’t join the gig queue, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered: here’s what you missed…

Manchester Orchestra In London

The band is on their US tour with the latest album The Million Masks of God released in 2021 and, luckily, included two dates even in the UK –  Manchester and London. So, let’s get it out of the way – was their London gig, at O2 Forum Kentish Town, great? No, it was not.

Because…

It was absolutely fantastic.

The songs, impressions, and great experience

Opening with ‘Inaudible‘, a song that takes you through slow passages just so you could experience literally impenetrable sound walls. We were there for a reason and started getting the best right from the beginning. Especially when ‘Inaudible‘ was followed by ‘Angel of Death’. You cannot often see this much energy so early on flowing through a relatively small venue but Manchester Orchestra managed that easily. I can still feel the need to jump to every beat, every tune, and every riff of the song when writing these lines.

The atmosphere was mesmerising. So mesmerising I very quickly stopped apologising for jumping on other people’s feet (and, sorry, mate, you don’t bring your ‘Tommy Hilfies’ to a rock gig, just no).

And it got even better.

Through ‘Keel Timing‘ and ‘Bed Head‘, slowing down a bit, but keeping a firm hand on the helm, Andy took the crowd right to I’m Like a Virgin Losing a Child, the first album, with ‘I Can Hardly Breath‘. Given the album was released in 2006, it was a pleasant surprise and the crowd agreed – they gave the audience an uninterrupted space to sing, yell, shout, scream, and enjoy themselves.

Since not many check setlists from previous concerts, certainly not myself, ‘Simple Math‘ was greeted with excitement that could only be matched with crowning a new monarch. At that point, everyone was going with the flow and completely worshipping the band and good old rock music. Where worse bands often save their best songs for the encore but these guys don’t have to and the performance of ‘Simple Math’ is definitely one of those stellar moments of the evening, pure gold.

The sound MancO produce is really something else. The technical quality and precision with which they play the guitars (and other instruments) really make their performance a truly wonderful experience and contribute to the high-quality delivery of every song.
Speaking of gold, we did get to hear ‘The Gold‘ from the 2017 A Black Mile to the Surface album along with ‘The Alien‘ and ‘The Sunshine‘. However, back to ‘The Gold‘ – I’ve never heard so many people yell or, if you want to call it that, sing ‘crazy’. Imagine a sold-out venue, everyone on the same vibe, and the band relentlessly keeping the crowd singing over and over the same chorus.

I believed you were crazy
You believed you loved me
You and me, we’re a daydream
So lose your faith in me
Lose your faith in me
Oh, lose your faith in me

For five minutes straight. Incredible.

The show closed with ‘Telepath’ and left most in a vulnerable place. And ready for the encore.

‘Shake It Out‘, ‘100 Dollars‘, and ‘The Silence‘. Do I need to say more? Likely not but, again, as was the habit throughout the evening, the songs were delivered with so much enthusiasm no one was left doubting the Manchester Orchestra had a great evening as well. Each of the songs perfectly flowing into the next, keeping the energy still very high until the last tunes of ‘The Silence’.

There couldn’t have been a better send-off.

The Setlist

The Manchester Orchestra 2022 O2 Forum Kentish Town London setlist:

  • Inaudible
  • Angel of Death
  • Keel Timing
  • Bed Head
  • I Can Barely Breathe
  • I Can Feel a Hot One (just a snippet)
  • Cope
  • Simple Math
  • The Maze
  • The Gold
  • The Alien
  • I Know How to Speak (just a snippet)
  • The Sunshine
  • Dinosaur
  • Where Have You Been?
  • The River (just a snippet)
  • Telepath

The encore:

  • Shake It Out
  • 100 Dollars
  • The Silence

Written by Vinklarek on

Petr 'Pete' Vinklárek writes mainly about music. Prior to entering the digital industry, he taught Translation Studies & British and American Cinema at a university. In his spare time, he hikes, listens to podcasts, watches films, and writes poetry. Petr studied the English Language and Literature at The University of Ostrava; his master’s thesis covered some aspects of Warren Zevon's work.

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