Courtesy of Alex Gibbs

Atlanta alt-rockers to visit CoMo for the first time

O’Brother will open for Manchester Orchestra at The Blue Note on Friday.


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Atlanta rockers O’Brother will be opening for Manchester Orchestra at The Blue Note on Friday. The two bands, who have toured together four times, are well acquainted, guitarist and lead vocalist Tanner Merritt says.

“It just feels comfortable all the time (on tour),” says Merritt of touring with Manchester Orchestra, a band that also hails from the ATL. “They’ve been great friends of ours for years now.”

In addition to Merritt, the band also currently features guitarists Johnny Dang and Jordan McGhin, drummer Michael Martens and bassist Anton Dang.

Merritt notes that the band has had “a few different iterations” since their 2006 EP In Comparison to Me; Merritt and guitarist/auxiliary percussionist Aaron Wamack joined the band in 2008 (Wamack left the group in 2012). The various band members came together while playing the Atlanta rock scene.

After Comparison, the group released another EP, The Death of The Day, in 2009, before coming out with their first full-length album in 2011.

While O’Brother’s early work is heavily influenced by metal and post-punk, the band’s latest release, 2013’s Disillusion, mimics the band’s trippier, spacier influences, yet still maintains their signature edge, landing them somewhere between Pink Floyd-gone-goth and the lovechild of Thom Yorke and Trent Reznor.

“It just kind of happened,” says Merritt, when asked about the change in sound. “We write what we like. (The new sound shows) how we’ve progressed as a band.”

And progressed they have: the quintet has gone from releasing little-known EPs to 2011’s Garden Window, which reached #15 on Billboard’s Heatseekers chart for up-and-coming artists. 2012 saw the release of a third EP, entitled Basement Window. And earlier this year, the band made its Lollapalooza debut, right before going on its first-ever headlining tour.

This will be the band’s first trip to Columbia, and Merritt says they’re excited to play the quirky college town. And they should be: they’re likely to find a new crop of fans in CoMo, which has become somewhat of a hub for the indie and the underground. And their gig’s timing is impeccable: O’Brother’s angsty lyrics are perfect for your pre-finals week aggression/stress (aggstresion?).

Oh, and the name? Despite what you might think, it’s not meant as an homage to the 2001 Coen brothers film.

“Y’know, I have no idea,” says Merritt with a laugh when asked about how the band came up with its monicker.

Perhaps it’s a tribute to the camaraderie between the five members, who’ve become like family while being together constantly while touring.

Whatever their name means, be sure to catch O’Brother on their stop in Columbia on Friday as they open for Manchester Orchestra. With their edgy, guitar-heavy tracks, O’Brother is sure to rock the house.

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