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Alternative/Rock

Manchester Orchestra (w/ Foxing, Slothrust) Delight Portland’s State Theatre on October 19th [Photos & Show Review]

Nathan Katsiaficas caught up with indie/alt-rock giants Manchester Orchestra, plus supporting acts Foxing and Slothrust, at the historic State Theatre in Portland, Maine on October 19, 2021.

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Indie/alt-rock giants Manchester Orchestra have just wrapped up the first leg of their multi-month tour celebrating the release of their latest album, The Million Masks of God. Along for the ride on this leg were fellow indie/post-rock act Foxing and opener Slothrust. We caught up with the tour on the second to last day of this particular span, as it made its way to the historic State Theatre in Portland, Maine on October 19, 2021.

Boston grunge act Slothrust got the night off to a really fun start with a sizable set for an opening act. Emerging to the song “Grease (Grease)” playing out over the sound system, the band started their performance off with instrumental and guitar-heavy number “Surf Goth,” before kicking into “7:30am,” and new track, “Cranium.” The band just released their latest record, Parallel Timeline, but the fans in attendance seemed to be well prepared to sing and dance along to the group’s brand of garage/punk infused with pop sensibilities.

Vocalist and guitarist, Leah Wellbaum has a delightfully strange yet charming stage presence that held the audience in thrall as the band played on. Slothrust is a band that is going places—give them a year or two and they’ll be headlining venues like this one! They closed their set with the anthemic “Waiting.”

With such a strong opener, it’s good that Manchester Orchestra chose Foxing to continue the momentum–they were more than up for the task as they started their set with the dynamic opening track from their latest LP, Draw Down the Moon, “737.” As amazing as this song is on record, it was a sight to behold the shift that happens midway through from softly sung vocals to all hell breaking loose in a cacophony of guitars and gruff vocals from frontman Conor Murphy. They continued with the second track from the new record, “Go Down Together,” which got the crowd dancing along immediately.

Frontman Conor Murphy was incredible to watch—constantly in motion, dancing his way around the stage and making his way out onto the PA speakers as he belted out each line. Their set would go on to include a few other tracks from their new album along with a few older hits sprinkled in for longtime fans, including “Lich Prince,” and “Nearer My God” from their 2018 release, and the mega-hit “The Medic,” from their incredible 2014 album, The Albatross.

At last, the crowd was fully warmed up and ready for Manchester Orchestra. I don’t envy any band that has to follow Foxing, but they absolutely delivered, playing a set spanning songs from several albums, but chiefly from their incredibly well-received latest release. If you haven’t seen Manchester Orchestra before, they’re one of those acts that manages to sound even better live than on their records and tonight was no different.  Frontman Andy Hull’s instantly recognizable, awe-inspiring voice reverberated in the venue soon after the opening notes of “Inaudible,” rang out. The band flew through the first four tracks of the new LP effortlessly–hearing “Angel of Death,” live was probably the highlight of the night for me—it’s such a good song but translated so well live!

Manchester Orchestra (w/ Foxing, Slothrust) @ State Theatre (Portland, ME) on October 19, 2021

Longtime Manchester Orchestra fans will find plenty to love in this tour’s setlist—with cuts like “Virgin,” from 2011’s Simple Math, “Top Notch,” from 2013’s Cope, and “I Can Barely Breathe,” from their 2007 debut I’m Like a Virgin Losing a Child, just to name a few. There were more new tracks later in the set, notably including the sombre track “Telepath,” which hits just as hard emotionally live as it did on the record.

If there is any gripe to be given this evening and Manchester Orchestra’s absolutely stacked setlist, it’s that the band didn’t play the monster of a song that is “Let it Storm,” but maybe they’ll throw it in on one of the next legs of this tour? Manchester Orchestra closed out the night with a two-song encore from their 2009 release Mean Everything To Nothing, with “Shake it Out” and “100 Dollars.” If you can make it to one of the future dates of their months-long tour, it is definitely worth it! The remaining dates are included below!

Remaining Tour Dates:

11/16/21 – Louisville, KY – Mercury Ballroom
11/17/21 – Nashville, TN – Ryman Auditorium
11/18/21 – Birmingham, AL – Alabama Theater
11/19/21 – Atlanta GA – Manchester Orchestra’s The Stuffing at Fox Theatre
02/16/22 – St. Louis, MO – The Pageant
02/17/22 – Kansas City, MO – Uptown Theater
02/18/22 – Denver, CO – Ogden Theater
02/19/22 – Salt Lake City, UT – The Complex
02/21/22 – Vancouver, BC – Rickshaw Theater
02/22/22 – Portland, OR – Roseland Theater
02/23/22 – Seattle, WA – Moore Theater
02/25/22 – Berkeley, CA – The UC Theater
02/26/22- Los Angeles, CA – Hollywood Palladium
02/27/22 – San Diego, CA – The Observatory North Park
03/01/22 – Las Vegas, NV – Brooklyn Bowl
03/02/22 – Phoenix, AZ – The Van Buren
03/04/22 – Austin, TX – Stubb’s
03/05/22 – Oklahoma City, OK – The Criterion
03/06/22 – Omaha, NE – The Admiral
03/08/22 – Minneapolis, MN – First Avenue
03/09/22 – Chicago, IL – The Riviera Theatre
03/11/22 – Columbus, OH – Express Live!
03/12/22 – Detroit, MI – The Fillmore
03/13/22 – Buffalo, NY – Buffalo Riverworks
03/15/22 – Toronto, ON – Phoenix Concert Theatre
03/16/22 – Montréal, QC – Corona Theatre

When he's not out in the woods, clomping around in streams, or looking at shiny rocks, you can find our U.S. Managing Editor and contributing photographer Nathan Katsiaficas in the photo pit, covering everything from heavy metal to punk, alternative, indie, and hip-hop.

Alternative/Rock

OSHEAGA Music and Arts Festival Returns with Powerhouse 2024 Lineup

OSHEAGA Music and Arts Festival dropped an unbelievably impressive lineup for their 2024 edition this week.

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OSHEAGA 2024

The OSHEAGA Music and Arts Festival dropped an unbelievably impressive lineup for their 2024 edition this week. The 17th edition of the festival will take place from August 2nd to 4th, at Parc Jean-Drapeau on Île Saint-Hélène, close to downtown Montréal. Headliners include SZA, Green Day, and Noah Kahan setting the tone for a diverse exhibition that is sure to appeal to the masses.

Representation is present for all genres at this year’s fest. Rock is covered by old-school legends Rancid, LA rockers The Linda Lindas, ’90s indie favourites Sleater-Kinney, and grunge icons The Smashing Pumpkins. R&B will be backed by hip-hop pioneer T-Pain, as well as Tyla, Ayra Starr, and Michaël Brun. Pop is represented by Mean Girls powerhouse Reneé Rapp, Euphoria star Dominic Fike, and alt-pop phenom Melanie Martinez. Indie will be covered by Irish musician Hozier and this generation’s Elvis, Stephen Sanchez. EDM will be showcased with sets by world-class producers like Martin Garrix and Labrinth.

If you’re someone who enjoys all types of music, this year’s OSHEAGA is a can’t-miss event. The lineup easily competes for the best of 2024. Tickets are on sale 2/21 for 3-day passes and 2/23 for single-day passes. Prices are as follows:

GENERAL ADMISSION TICKET / SINGLE-DAY: starting at $165 CAD
GENERAL ADMISSION TICKET / 3-DAY: starting at $395 CAD
CASINO DE MONTRÉAL GOLD TICKET / SINGLE-DAY: starting at $320 CAD
CASINO DE MONTRÉAL GOLD TICKET / 3 DAYS: starting at $745 CAD

PLATINUM TICKET / SINGLE-DAY: starting at $685 CAD
PLATINUM TICKET / 3 DAYS: starting at $1,620 CAD

Get your tickets while they last!

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Album News

Chris Ostler Unleashes Electrifying New EP ‘CO2’

Chris Ostler is back with a bang, releasing his latest EP titled CO2, a follow-up to his highly acclaimed CO1 album.

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Chris Ostler

Renowned British musician Chris Ostler is back with a bang, releasing his latest EP titled CO2, a follow-up to his highly acclaimed CO1 album. Packed with funk-rock anthems and heartfelt messages, CO2 showcases Ostler’s signature blend of high energy, emotion, and captivating storytelling. Proudly neurodivergent, Chris wishes to help others, using music to make a positive difference in the world. Chris’ autism only serves to enhance the way he writes and plays.

CO2 delivers a dynamic collection of funk-rock tracks that resonate with sincerity and power. Building on the success of his recent singles like ‘Funk in the Trunk,’ ‘The Sun & The Moon,’ and the introspective ‘Anxious Boy,’ the EP introduces three new addictive offerings: ‘Open Road,’ ‘Who Knows,’ and ‘Jam it up Muso.’ plus an acoustic release of ‘The Sun & The Moon’. Each track is infused with Ostler’s vocal prowess and passion, accompanied by electrifying guitar riffs that leave listeners craving more.

Ostler’s songwriting prowess shines through in CO2, offering listeners a glimpse into his raw emotions transformed into beautiful chords and choruses. From the romantic personification in ‘The Sun & The Moon,’ capturing the struggle of distant souls yearning to be together, to the earnest sincerity of ‘Jam it up Muso,’ with its funky-rock vibe and harmonious guitar melodies, each song on the EP resonates with authenticity and depth.

Ostler states, “I want to share with listeners and help them relive the immensity and power of life itself; we have so many emotional experiences, some amazingly positive, and of course, some challenging, but through music we can collectively support each other and enjoy the beauty of everything we experience. If we’re writing our own melodies of life, let’s make them as colourful as possible.”

Hailing from Exeter, Chris Ostler has captivated audiences nationwide with his charismatic presence and lively performances. His talent has earned him the privilege of opening for international artists like Joan Armatrading and Chris Barron (Spin Doctors). Supported by BBC Radio stations across the UK, including Devon, Leicester, and BBC Introducing Southwest, Ostler continues to make waves in the music industry with his electrifying sound and heartfelt storytelling.

Chris Ostler "CO2" album artwork

Chris Ostler “CO2” album artwork

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Alternative/Rock

Letters Sent Home Release New Single “Ignorance” (feat. Sumner Peterson)

On February 19th, German quartet Letters Sent Home released their newest single, “Ignorance,” featuring Dead Lakes vocalist Sumner Peterson.

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Letters Sent Home, photo by Jana Boese
Letters Sent Home, photo by Jana Boese

On February 19th, German quartet Letters Sent Home released their newest single, “Ignorance,” featuring Dead Lakes vocalist Sumner Peterson via SharpTone Records off their upcoming debut album Forever Undone.

The band said of the latest release:

“‘Ignorance’ represents the frustration and helplessness of young people regarding the climate crisis. At the same time, it is begging the people in power to start working with us to try and save the planet.”

Recently, Letters Sent Home announced their debut album, Forever Undone, set to be released on April 12 via SharpTone Records. The album features new single “Ignorance” as well as recently released singles “Request Denied,” “Elements,” and “I Hope I Die First,” alongside seven new, ambitious tracks.

Vocalist Emily Paschke said of the of the upcoming record:

“We have been told that people mostly like our music due to relatability and personality in our songs. We believe to have pushed this to an extreme, for this album is as personal as it could possibly get. I am truly nervous about some of these songs being heard by certain people but writing this album has been very therapeutic in the way that I finally started dealing with stuff I have been consciously and subconsciously ignoring for the past years.”

Across three well-received EPs of “sad, hard music,” the German quartet has made their name as a band that match infectious melody and huge choruses with the lyrical depth and heart of people with a lot to say.

Letters Sent Home ‘Forever Undone’ album artwork

Letters Sent Home ‘Forever Undone’ album artwork

Forever Undone Track Listing:

1. Earthquake
2. Request Denied
3. Ignorance
4. Pedestal
5. Elements
6. Hysteria
7. Seven
8. Gaslight
9. Sadists
10. Final Battle
11. I hope I die first.

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