To describe what it’s like to see Man Man perform at a club, inches from your face, I would have to pull out the most unused of references. I’ll give it a shot. It’s like Where The Wild Things Are, Lord of the Flies and Stomp all put together with white clothes, face paint and enough assorted instruments to fill a van.
Basically it’s like no other show currently on earth.
This was my third time seeing Man Man — first at the Dame, then at Pitchfork — and I was happy to back to seeing them in a club. They were great at Pitchfork, don’t misunderstand me. I loved the feathers and girl choir for “Ice Dogs.” But something about sunlight and Man Man together rub me the wrong way. Give me floors sticky with beer and no room to raise my arms — that’s how I want to see Man Man.
Man Man’s kind of constant performance is pretty much only beaten by the non-stop-performance of the Fiery Furnaces (are they still doing that, or was it just two years ago?). Mad drum beats and party blowers create transitions into the next song, or elongate the middle of another. It’s the kind of start-and-stop herky-jerky percussion that forces you to pay attention.
It’s hard to pick set highlights, but not so hard that I can’t give it a shot. They debuted a lot of new matierial, including the lurching march of “Zombie” and a lovable tune towards the end which apparently is called “Whale Harpoon.” And though the new songs were well received, the night belonged to another song.
When the band jumped into the off-kilter piano intro to “Engwish Bwudd,” it galvanized the audience. It’s one of the more vocally back-and-forth of their tunes, and one that worked to their advantage. When it came time for the line “Get the f*ck out of my house,” the audience yelled out unbidden, along with the band. If you’ve never heard a hundred people yell out “This is my house, MY HOUSE,” you’re missing out.
So while it feels cheap to boil it down to one word, Man Man’s performance was fun. The band got into it (have they ever not?), and really seemed to enjoy themselves. The chemistry between Honus and Pow Pow — who have their keyboard and drums set up facing each other, showdown style — is electric and, I believe, 100% the heart of the band.