Free at Noon Flashback: Manchester Orchestra captivates in soaring, momentous volumes

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Manchester Orchestra | photo by Emma Silverstone for WXPN

If there’s one thing that Manchester Orchestra showed the packed Free at Noon crowd today, it’s that they have an insane superpower to effortlessly travel through moments of stripped, aching softness to hard-hitting, soaring volumes of power.

Being that it’s been ten years since their debut album, I’m Like I’m a Virgin Losing a Child, Manchester Orchestra’s sound has understandably morphed and grown along with them over time. Playing a few new tracks from their upcoming album, A Black Mile To The Surface, the Atlanta five-piece demonstrated a shift from heavy guitar jam builds to a more atmospheric kind of grandness.

This move was showcased during the band’s two new singles, “The Alien” and “The Gold.” With floaty guitars, sparkly piano, and an impeccably bittersweet melody, “The Alien” swept through the entirety of World Cafe Live — grasping each attendee in total captivation. “The Gold” burst into life next, where the utterly moving song’s inspirational clarity rumbled throughout, while climbing to new heights in the mesmerizing a capella choruses.

Manchester Orchestra | photo by Emma Silverstone for WXPN

The crew also treated fans to old favorites during the set, including “Colly Strings,” “Simple Math,” and the closing, emotional rollercoaster of “Where Have You Been?” With longtime super-fans exuding excited cheers of anticipation from the very first chord, it was clear how greatly this band’s honest, vulnerable songs have impacted so many over the years.

Manchester Orchestra’s new album will be available on July 28th via Loma Vista Recordings. Don’t miss their return to Philly at The Fillmore on October 1st, with more info on tickets over at the XPN Concert Calendar. Check out photos from the Free at Noon set below.

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