Pensacola, Florida
Monday July 23rd 2018

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Hangout Fest ’18—Beach Boy

By Stephanie Sharp

Pensacola native and bassist for Manchester Orchestra Andy Prince is looking forward to bringing some “big, fat, loud rock” to the beach for this year’s Hangout Fest.

Prince has been with the band since 2013 but playing music for most of his life, even making his living at one point playing with cover bands at venues along the Gulf Coast, like The Hangout in Gulf Shores.

Manchester Orchestra has been releasing albums since 2004 in various iterations, but it’s been almost a year since their latest album, “A Black Mile to the Surface,” which took 11 months to create and get out into the world. Since the release of that record, Prince says the band has been hard at work on different projects, constantly writing and working on new material.

“It’s certainly still been busy; there’s always something happening in our camp,” said Prince. “If we’re not playing shows, we’re in the studio.”

Throughout the summer and into the fall, Manchester Orchestra will be playing shows and hitting the festival circuit across the country. This touring leg is one of the busiest the band has ever had, according to Prince. In the midst of their travel this year, fans can expect to see more of from their latest album, which will help illuminate the creative process and unseen inner workings of the songs.

“There’s a lot to come and unfolding this year.”

For an experienced band like Manchester Orchestra that has a lot of work under their belt, preparing for festival shows can be an exercise in minimalism. Going from their typical 90-minute sets to the average 60-minute festival slot means shuffling their usual performance into a leaner selection.

“It sounds like a long time to play, but it’s actually hard to cut the set list down,” said Prince. “You don’t want to get out there and put anyone to sleep.”

Even shortened by half an hour, Prince explained that the band is determined to deliver an outstanding performance and that they are well prepared for the creative constraints of playing big festivals. From an earlier set time, to potential technical difficulties with sound and stage, to a mixed bag of fans and new listeners, they know what they signed up for and take it all in stride.

“You can definitely tell when a band is phoning it in.”

For an outdoor festival in the heat of summer, Prince also noted that there’s some physical preparation that goes a long way in getting ready to give a great performance, which some bands appear to miss out on.

“They look like bunch of vampires that haven’t stepped out of the house in years.”

Whether it’s the hectic schedule, grueling summer sun or the behind the scenes chaos of back-to-back live performances, Prince makes it clear that the goal is to embrace the different energy of a festival and make sure the show is awesome.

Knowing that he’d be returning to his home beaches of the Gulf Coast, we had to ask about his beach-bound road trip playlist. It includes some nostalgic alt-rock like Nada Surf but also, unironically, a little Jimmy Buffet and the Beach Boys too.

“Basically anything that makes me feel like I did when I used to live there,” said Prince.

While he’s looking forward to playing in perfect view of the Gulf, his preferred beach pastime involves more of the marine life that he’s “obsessed with.”

“I’m a complete fishing nerd; it’s bad.”

Prince is grateful for the opportunity to still be a successful, working musician, even if pursuing his passion meant moving away from the hometown he loves. He now lives in Nashville and commutes to Georgia for recording sessions, along with traveling for tour dates.

“I miss home so much. I wish I could be at the beach all the time, but for what I want to do, I had to move elsewhere.”

MANCHESTER ORCHESTRA
6:30-7:30 p.m. Saturday
Beach Stage

themanchesterorchestra.com