It's an old canard in the music business: Everyone loves you except your hometown. Andy Hull says that's true when it comes to his band Manchester Orchestra.
Formed in 2004, Manchester Orchestra kicked around for years with little attention from locals. Finally, by last fall, it drew audiences of 200 or more. But those numbers seemed modest when compared with the crowds on its Southeast tours. "I don't know why [any] people in Atlanta give a shit about us, honestly," says Hull, the band's principal vocalist and songwriter. "We got to a pretty good place where we were drawing, like, 150-200 kids. But it's weird because when we'd go to Columbia, South Carolina, or Florida, or up north we'd draw 300 kids."
Last November, Manchester Orchestra issued its second album, I'm Like a Virgin Losing a Child, on its Favorite Gentlemen imprint, and went on a brief tour of Britain. Then, in February, the group landed an opening slot on Brand New's national tour. Hull admits that most of Brand New's emo and alt-rock fans haven't heard of Manchester Orchestra. "But there are some fans for us as well, about 20-30 of them [per show], which is awesome," he says.
But that number may soon multiply. Major and independent record labels swoon over Manchester Orchestra, and serious discussions are under way with a few unnamed bidders, Hull says. "We're not exactly sure what we want to do, but we're trying to figure it out," he says.
Manchester Orchestra plans to promote I'm Like a Virgin for the rest of the year, and then head back to the studio next spring. By the time its third album hits stores in 2008, Atlantans won't be the only ones anticipating its arrival.
Manchester Orchestra plays w/ Brand New and Kevin Devine. $17-$19. 7 p.m. Tues.-Wed., April 17-18. The April 17 show is sold out. Center Stage, 1374 W. Peachtree St. www.centerstage-atlanta.com.