Fences @ Middle East Upstairs, 2.13.11
by Lauren Moquin (Journalism), published April 29th 2011
As the last stop on his tour, Christopher Mansfield, the man who makes up Fences, offered a night to celebrate. His songs of compassion and nostalgia have brought enough attention to fill The Middle East upstairs. Even without a label, he brought out the fans, and managed to create a stifling room, amongst the winter chill. This night, he truly showed the fans why they became so easily attached to his brave attempt of a debut album in the first place.
The intimacy felt in the room was not just because of the shoebox size of the upstairs of The Middle East, but because of the intimacy Mansfield’s lyrics set naturally. Fences is an easily relatable album with the perfect intricate instrumentals to add to the hometown mood. The way that Fences carries the live show does the album justice too. The combination of the rushing snare and light piano that surrounded the raw words of warning within the performance of ‘Boys Around Here’, was a perfect reminder of why the album was so meaningful. There is something incredibly special about the way he translates this songs live, though. It is as though he was trying to forewarn the audience even though he knows there is no hope. One is so easily drawn into the way that such a strong voice can become so vulnerable in this way. The way that Mansfield carries himself is rugged and tough, but he is broken down into such a sensitive state when he steps on the stage to share his songs. The way that he lays himself out for the audience to take or leave, is something that makes his live performance an original experience.