Stephanie Drake Photography Blog
Manchester Orchestra, Iron City, Birmingham AL


Link to full gallery of 40+ images here.

It’s a rare occurrence to have one of your actual dreams come true, but I honestly have dreamt about photographing a Manchester Orchestra concert before. The craziest thing about it is the real life version was even better than the dream.

This past Thursday, I made the 4-hour trek up to Birmingham’s newest live music hot spot Iron City with the sincerest hope of photographing the night’s main act (only halfway through the journey was my confirmation received — phew!!). Even if I were only allowed to photograph the concert’s two openers, Brick and Mortar and The Mowgli’s, the drive would have been worth it (more to come on both of those bands in a later post). What an outstanding tour.

While the promotions for this latest tour for Manchester Orchestra would indicate the intent was to highlight their newest release and fourth studio album, Cope, the set list was a smorgasbord of titles from their entire discography. A few of my all-time favorites made the list, like “I’ve Got Friends” and “Shake It Out”, plus a couple of originally unintended inclusions like “Pensacola” which they threw in mid-set at the request of the enthusiastic Birmingham crowd. While I’m on the subject, the crowd at Iron City was truly excellent and filled with some obviously long-time fans, a wonderful but not unexpected occurrence for a band that originated just a short 2 hour drive east in Atlanta. In fact, to queue up “100 Dollars” during the set, lead singer Andy Hull recalled the story of having written that song in Birmingham while visiting his then girlfriend / now wife Amy while she was in school at Samford University.

This was only my second time seeing Manchester Orchestra perform live and the first time in a tour setting (the other was during a festival), and these guys really put on a superb show. The set list, as I mentioned, is varied enough to please both new and old fans alike. Hull clearly knows his audience well, keeping them fully engaged between songs and adjusting the set list to fit the crowd. The stage lighting is colorful and dramatic with frequent use of backlighting, silhouetting the hair flinging guitarists and head slinging keyboardist perfectly. For my part, it was more than worth the 8-hour round trip to catch these guys live.


Photographer’s notes: Backlighting. Backlighting. Did I mention backlighting? Be comfortable flipping to manual focus if you ever shoot these guys, you’ll probably need it.























One Response to Manchester Orchestra, Iron City, Birmingham AL

  1. Pingback: Stephanie Drake Photography Blog » Archive » The Mowgli’s, Iron City, Birmingham AL

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