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Throwback Thursday: Manchester Orchestra, Nov. 22, 2013

Remember when Manchester Orchestra rocked a full house and kicked started everyone’s winter break in the best way possible, I sure do.

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COPE. That’s the word an anxious and energetic audience stared at while waiting for the band to take stage. I’ve been to concerts where I left feeling like, “Yeah, you know that was really good. They made me feel something; those guys really know how to impact an audience.”

Never, though, did the band have me analyzing, reflecting and feeling something before they even performed.

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The Front Bottoms

Manchester Orchestra took stage at The Blue Note November 22, 2013, and, man, did they deliver. Openers The Front Bottoms and O’Brother rallied a fist pumping and chanting crowd beforehand, and then, BAM: the COPE backdrop. I couldn’t help but reflect on how simply the word defines what Manchester Orchestra constantly fights for in all of their music: dealing with struggles, finding peace, expressing emotion and coping with it.

I was basically standing on one foot the whole night shoulder-to-shoulder with strangers, but that night I felt like I was surrounded by close friends who were going through the same things as me.

I’m not one to go cheesey-talk on every concert I go to, but this one is worth the cheese — maybe even as fine as Gouda.

Enjoy some pics:

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Post written by Erica Whyman, Blue Note contributing writer. 

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Richard’s Story Corner: “They drank all the beer we had in the building,” a lesson

A current photo of Jake's Leg

A current photo of Jake’s Leg

And now a tale from Richard King… 

Back when The Blue Note was still on Business Loop 70, regional bands started hearing about the club and started asking to play. One Grateful Dead cover band from St. Louis named Jake’s Leg was especially eager to try out The Blue Note’s stage. A band member called the venue regularly, hoping for an open night.

But there was a problem. Richard King, owner, didn’t like the Grateful Dead. So he never returned the phone calls.

But Jake must have been very insistent to have such a persistent leg. The band member drove from STL to CoMo and does some serious sleuthing. The guy — a big guy — manages to track down Richard at a bar in town.

According to Richard, the conversation went like this.

STRANGER: “Hey, are you Richard King?”

RICHARD: “Yeah…”

STRANGER/RANDY: “I’m Randy. I’m from Jake’s Leg. I’ve been calling you for six months, and you won’t return my phone calls.”

RICHARD: “Oh, yeah, man, look…”

RANDY: “All I want is a gig in your bar, that’s all I want. Give me the shittiest night of the week — I don’t care. Can I have a gig at your bar?”

RICHARD: “Dude, you drove here all the way from St. Louis for this? I’m really sorry! That’s bullshit I didn’t call you back. Call me Monday, and I promise I will take your call, and we’ll find a date.”

So Randy called, and Richard answered. They found a date.

On the day of the concert, Richard was still apprehensive, not expecting much. “I just really didn’t listen to the Grateful Dead. A lot of my friends did, I guess. I didn’t get it.”

Turns out, everyone else did.

Richard did a sound check for the band during the day and then, like usual, went home for the evening to eat dinner and shower. And like usual, he tried to call the club to make sure everything was set up for the night,

The line was busy. He called again. Busy. Again… busy. Finally, he decided to drive down to the bar and see what was going on.

“The doors weren’t even open yet, and there was a line of people stretched all the way around the block! That was the first time I’d ever seen that. I said, ‘Oh, shit.’”

The crowd somehow managed squeezed itself into the bar, but the beer was gone before the show was over. “We sold all the beer we had in the building,” Richard says.

At the end of the night, Richard approached the band to pay them their portion. “I just dumped all of the money out and said, ‘Kick my ass, guys. I missed this one.’”

They asked for another gig, and Richard agreed. Of course.

“It was an eye-opening experience for me,” he says. “It was not my personal taste, but it was something that other people liked. It was a big lesson for me — that it wasn’t all about me. It’s not always what I liked.”


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‘It was just pathetic:’ How The Blue Note got its name

005Ever wondered how The Blue Note got its name?

It was in a terrible way, if Richard King tells the story.

“Phil and I were sitting up at a bar called the Cork and Dart tossing around names. Phil wanted to call it Paradise, or, you know, one of those kinds of names.” Richard shakes his head. Oh, Phil.

The partners wanted to make the name was at least a little music oriented but weren’t having much luck.

“Then it struck me. Where I grew up in Scranton, Penn., my high school was located downtown. There was a lot of downtown bars and restaurants. I used to walk by this one place every day called The Blue Note. You looked in, and it was probably half the size of Booches. It was full of old guys sitting there getting drunk for 20 cent beers.

“And it was just pathetic.

“I thought, ‘Hey, let’s call it The Blue Note.’”

They went around and around on the name, considering different options, but decided to stick to The Blue Note. Not because of the musical connection, but more because of those pathetic old guys, drinking beer and shooting the breeze. That seemed about right.