Dustin Kensrue and Andy Hull @ Sixth & I - 4/29/2015

On Wednesday night, Dustin Kensrue of post-hardcore band Thrice and Andy Hull of indie rock band Manchester Orchestra brought their co-headlining solo tour to Sixth & I, in a format very similar to that followed by Kevin Devine and Evan Weiss earlier this year. Each played a solo set, accompanied by only by his own acoustic guitar. As with that previous show, the synagogue turned out to be the perfect setting for such an intimate performance, giving the artists the chance to showcase their strong vocal talents and songwriting away from the much noisier surroundings of their respective bands.

Although Thirce announced a return from an extended hiatus earlier this year, with appearances set for several festivals throughout the summer, Kensrue also released his second solo album, Carry the Fire, two weeks ago. Much like his earlier solo work, 2007’s Please Come Home, the new record is a departure from the heavier sound of Thrice, venturing in pop and folk directions, which lent itself well to the solo acoustic format. Kensrue played many songs from the new album, including the title track, “Of Crows and Crowns,” and fan-favorite “There’s Something Dark Inside of Me.” In addition, he performed several Thrice songs, and much to the surprise of the audience, a cover of Lorde’s “Buzzcut Season.” He closed the set with an unplugged, unamplified version of Tom Waits’ “Down There By the Train,” using the echoing acoustics of the room effectively to carry his voice.

Manchester Orchestra's Andy Hull going it alone at Sixth & I - 4.29.15 (Photo by Matt Condon)

Manchester Orchestra's Andy Hull going it alone at Sixth & I - 4.29.15 (Photo by Matt Condon)

Andy Hull hasn’t released a new solo album, though he has used the tour as an opportunity to release a four CD set compiling his solo work, under the name Right Away, Great Captain!, originally released on vinyl between 2007 and 2012. Although he showcased a short 4-song set of these songs, “I Wait for You,” “Memories from a Shore,” “What a Pity,” and “I was a Cage,” the bulk of his 16-song set was made up of stripped-down versions of Manchester Orchestra tracks. Songs from all four of the band’s albums – “Wolves at Night” and “Colly Strings” from I’m Like a Virgin Losing a Child, “The River” from Mean Everything to Nothing, “Deer” from Simple Math, and “Top Notch,” “Girl Harbor,” and “Cope” from Cope were represented, along with two tracks from their collaborations with Kevin Devine under the name Bad Books, “42” and “Pytor.”

The show was opened with a short set, also solo acoustic, by Tanner Merritt, frontman of the band O’Brother, who has toured with both Manchester Orchestra and Thrice at various times. 

Photos by Matt Condon. Click to embiggen.