Saturday Night: The Manichean At Walter's

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The Manichean, The Clouds are Ghosts, Bang Bangz, Glass the Sky Walter's March 24, 2012

Houston's The Manichean kept it going strong Saturday night, following a well-received show the night before in Beaumont. A locally acclaimed act, they held up with much live energy.

The album posted on their Facebook account, Sakura, seemed different than what was played live. In fact, The Manichean's songs sounded pretty different live than what I have heard of their recorded work.

The Manichean's stage setup was very simple, with Cory Sinclair's theatric expressions taking up most of the stage. The lead singer jumped between the stage and his audience, singing directly to most of the crowd, and getting up close and personal with his seemingly bigger fans.

The Manichean's music is bursting with an almost cinematic emotion, with spoken poetry craftily placed between each song.

I can see the band's influences coming from perhaps the early 2000s, bands from that era such as Brand New, Thursday and Glassjaw, strictly in terms of sound. Well, to me, The Manichean sounds like a bubbling revival of those bands, in their full romantic swing.

Peppered between their spoken-word poetry and songs following were a few jokes, sort of toning down the romantic notion of their performance, and making sure that the audience was having fun.

The songs performed showcased the band members' instrumental skills, even when guitarist Justice Tirapelli-Jamail claimed that he was going to be playing with no pedal. They also have a notably talented drummer; basically, The Manichean as a whole is a very well-orchestrated band.

Saturday night's show lasted from about 9pm to just about last call, making it a full night's worth of an event.

The bands playing were all different, but similar in terms of how well-calculated their performances were. They were all Texas bands, and all brought diverse and sizeable crowds. Every single musician brought his or her A-game that night.

Glass the Sky was the opening act. They're a progressive rock act with hints of a U2 influence in their glittered guitar riffs and the lead singer's slight falsetto. Their set had a couple of improvised sessions, showcasing their music skill.

Bang Bangz, from Houston, delivered their usual fuzzy indie fix. Their sound is sometimes soothing, and their songs are quite catchy.

Finally, just before The Manichean went on was a set from Austin's The Cloud Are Ghosts. With the lead singer clad in a Radiohead T-shirt from that band's most recent tour, this band wore their influences on their sleeve.

They played a lovely ambient pop set, utilizing many instruments on the small stage Walter's had provided. Sounding a bit like mid-career Radiohead circa maybe Hail to the Thief, this band was a personal favorite simply based on the sound they were trying to achieve.

Personal Bias: No bias. I haven't seen most of these bands live before.

The Crowd: The bands were pretty varied, so all ages. I even saw a couple of little kids there.

Overheard in the Crowd: A timed "F*ck!" was exclaimed by Manichean lead singer of The Sinclair in mid-crowd, mid angst.

Random Notebook Dump: Bang Bangz actually sound better each time I see them.

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