Werner Olckers, leader singer of Wrestlerish, was one of the winners of the One Night In Cape Town competition that I ran to win a Meet ‘n’ Greet with Manchester Orchestra.
I could not ignore his entry. He made it very clear that he was much more than simply a fan and so, I asked him if he’d be so kind as so do a small write-up on his experience.
He obliged, because he’s the nicest dude like that.
Meeting one of your favourite bands is always a very tricky thing. When you’ve connected with music on a level where it’s a key point in your life or has become the soundtrack for coping with the mundane, it’s very easy to forget that it was made by a person and not some metaphysical musical anomaly.
Manchester Orchestra are a band that at first glance might not have a major impact, their music is constructed around the ideal of making the melody and lyrics of Andy Hull’s breath. It’s not always an easy listen, they’re complicated and fussy. But that’s why I love them.
So when I walked into the media area at Grandwest, I wasn’t sure what to expect from a bunch of guys who are from a small community in Georgia. Would they be as fickle and complicated as their music? Would they actually have and hold conversation or just sign my album, shake my hand and go back to their dressing room?
As I entered the room Andy immediately got up, walked towards me and said: “Jesus, you’re tall”. I replied with: “Jesus, you’re not”, after that the conversation immediately flowed. We spoke about their new album and what they’ve been up to around our country the last few days.
The media manager gave me the “You’ve got a minute left, hurry up” look and I mentioned to Andy that I loved the Pinkerton influence on the second album, and it’s what got me hooked on them. His face lit up and I could see I had triggered something he was also completely attached to. He asked if I smoke, I said I do. He then shushed the media lady and said: “Follow me.”
We stood outside the casino for about 40 minutes, smoking and talking about music, gear, books and how to not fall over on stage. Just two dudes, hanging out and talking. He wasn’t the rock star I pictured in my head. And I was so grateful that he wasn’t. He’s just a music geek like me.
His manager then poked his head out of the door and commanded in a thin American accent: “Andy, 10 minutes.” We shook hands, made one last joke about puking on stage and parted ways.
All photos courtesy of Laura McCullagh.