Manchester Orchestra plays weekend 1

What do you do when you go from a precocious songwriter to a man in his thirties who grows a beard, gets weird and disappears?

If you’re Manchester Orchestra vocalist Andy Hull, you make nice but heavy albums reminiscent of ’90s guitar rock like Blur and Live.

The emo veterans – 16 years after the dense and booming debut album ‘I’m Like a Virgin Losing a Child,’ in which the Atlanta band explored faith and self with all the angst of a Hot Topic buyer’s room – arrived in Austin Saturday’s T-Mobile stage at the City Limits Music Festival in black t-shirts, with muscled, traditionalist strumming.

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They deserved it.

“This is our fifth time here,” Hull said before performing “I Can Barely Breathe,” an old cut he said the band played at the 2008 ACL Fest. five pieces was simple and loud, elegant so predictable, like wearing a felt hat to the pool hall. Don’t hit the retread – it works.

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‘Shake It Out’ is still a great song.

I didn’t like this one when it started. I remember the 2009 song as when the band sold out when I thought they were chasing the ghost of Stone Temple Pilots. Maybe it was just familiar to my decaying ears today, but in a pop landscape where Harry Styles can halfheartedly write about food, scam contemporaries like Perfume Genius, and sell a million nights a week at the Moody’s. Center, someone has to be loud and serious. Someone should scream. I’ve heard this earth-shattering tune hundreds of times, and I think it’s a spiritual wake-up call when it comes to an exasperated, depressed narrator bemoaning conventional wisdom. So what are most Manchester Orchestra songs about.

Manchester Orchestra bassist Andy Prince during the Austin City Limits music festival on Saturday October 8, 2022 in Austin.

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A certain type of patron of the ACL thinks it sucks.

Two days into ACL, the message “These guys are pretty good!” award goes to the Manchester Orchestra. The person saying this is usually here because a loved one insisted and enjoys making connections between their record collection and what’s presented to them at Zilker. Six albums later, last year’s “The Million Masks of God” scratches the itch.

Hull provides a public service. Now please don’t bump into my Ozark Trail camping chair on the way to Lil Nas X.

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