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Manchester Orchestra headlines epic three-band show in the Vista

This past Friday, Oct. 6, the Columbia music scene was ignited by an epic three-band show at Music Farm Columbia.

Through advance ticket sales, the show sold out early, likely due to interest in main act Manchester Orchestra, the Atlanta-based indie rock band who had audience members swooning with dynamic performances of their major hits like “Shake It Out.

Manchester Orchestra headlined Friday night’s three-band concert at Music Farm. (Photo by Alan VanValkenburgh)

Manchester Orchestra has been thrilling audiences for over 10 years and has enjoyed widespread success, with some of their songs even landing on major primetime soaps like Gossip GirlOne Tree Hill, and Beverly Hills 90210, attracting a loyal base of nation-wide fans.  During Friday night’s performance, they delivered deeply personal lyrics with powerful guitars and soaring vocal hooks to a sold-out group of fans who knew every heart-felt word and never stopped swaying to the beat..  For a sold out show, Music Farm’s patio stayed noticeably barren while the band was on stage; fans were unwilling to step outside and miss hits such as “The Gold,” “I’ve Got Friends,” and “The Alien.”  Although frontman Andy Hull did not miss a beat, delivering album-quality renditions of the band’s biggest hits, the audience could not be silenced, belting out the lyrics to each beloved song with him.

Tigers Jaw performed at Music Farm Columbia on Friday night. (Photo by Alan VanValkenburgh)

However, fans who came early were certainly not disappointed.  Immediately preceding the band was Tigers Jaw, a band from Pennsylvania who manages to sound simultaneously upbeat and depressed; their music has a dark, emotional tone set over a rapid, dance-driven beat.  Keyboardist Brianna Collins is by no means the focal point of the band’s live shows, but when she’s given center stage in songs like “June,” her earnest, sweet vocals noticeably move fans, who, on Friday night, fell silent and stared at her, mesmerized.  Much of Tigers Jaw’s music evokes memories of early 2000s pop-punk rock with effortless male vocals, which may have isolated some age groups at Friday night’s show but impressed others.

St. Louis band Foxing won over the Columbia crowd this past Friday night. (Photo by Alan VanValkenburgh)

The show-stealing act Friday night, though, was opener Foxing, who had a stage presence far more sophisticated than most acts their age (the band has been around less than seven years).  Vocalist (and trumpet player!) Conor Murphy is an enigmatic force on stage, with vocals that magnificently transition from wailing, to soft crooning, to enraged bellowing, to a happy belting that is almost sing-song at times.  Their music is entrancing and powerful, and as a performer Murphy has already became a master of hypnotizing the crowd.  Friday night may have been the first time many Columbia music fans saw (or even heard of) Foxing, but judging from the thrilled crowd’s reaction, it won’t be the last.  Even the slower songs did not disappoint; Murphy melted the audience with passionate renditions of “The Medic,” and the steadily melodic “Rory” was a show-stopper.

Music Farm is the hub of downtown Columbia’s music scene.  Next up on deck: The Mantras and The Get Right Band on Friday, Oct. 13.

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