03 May 2011

[show review] Man Man @ One Eyed Jacks

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The weirdos and freaks were out in droves on Monday night, which could only mean a lot of things, but this time it meant Man Man was making their triumphant return to the city. Though One Eyed Jack’s seemed a bit empty at first, the floor quickly filled as openers Shilpa Ray and her Happy Hookers took the stage and pounded the crowd with their pump-organ driven, moan-and-scream heavy hard rock. When they finished, the stage was ready to be set for what could I whimsically described as “Pee-Wee’s Playhouse on mushrooms.” The stage itself was decorated with glowing lights, a TV, a starry backdrop, and half of a bicycle, which nobody could figure out why the hell it was there.

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With a new record in hand, I wasn’t sure what Man Man were going to bring to the table. The last time I had seen them was at Rothbury in 2009, where they played a pretty even mix of songs from their three records, with the focus being on Rabbit Habits and Six Demon Bag. I knew I was not about to be disappointed when the band took the stage and jumped into the latter’s opener, “Feathers.” The first new track of the night, “Piranhas Club” embodied the band’s more doo-wop sound, and got the crowd moving early. Standard live cuts like “Mr. Jung Stuffed,” “Hurly Burly,” and “Top Drawer” kept the crowd alive between new cuts that, while totally awesome, were sometimes lost on an audience largely hearing them for the first time. For those like myself, who are waiting anxiously for Life Fantastic, the prospect of hearing new tunes was well met, and the band dropped 8 throughout their set.

Where Man Man truly shined, however, was their choice of deeper cuts from their old records. The last time I had seen them, I was blown away when they played songs like “I, Manface” and “Push the Eagle’s Stomach,” but this time they went even further with cuts like “Spider Cider,” “White Rice, Brown Heart,” and the often overlooked gem “Sarsaparilla,” which finally showed us what that fucking bike was for. Not to mention that when they played “Engrish Bwudd,” I’ve never heard so many people scream “get the fuck outta MY house!” so loud in my life. Except for my dad that time I did that one thing.

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Needless to say, this show was awesome. Though the heavy focus on new tracks may have rubbed some the wrong way, and some people there were just not down to party (who the fuck tells people to “calm down” at a show? I mean seriously), Man Man gave a hell of a performance. Anybody who didn’t make it missed out on a great concert and should make a point to see this band as soon as possible.

Feathers, Hurly/Burly, Piranhas Club, Mr. Jung Stuffed, Top Drawer, Dark Arts, Haute Tropic, 10 lb. Mustache, Easy Eats of Dr. Galapagos, Doo Right, Bangkok Necktie, Shameless, Sarsaparilla, White Rice Brown Heart. ENCORE: Life Fantastic, Engrish Bwudd, Futurismo (non-album cut?), Spider Cider, Oh La Brea, Van Helsing Boombox

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Check out the stream of the entire new album Life Fantastic by clicking here!

- Article written by Jason Kutno
- All photographs by Joshua Brasted

For more pictures from the show,
check out Joshua's Flickr.

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