Friday, June 8, 2012

Man Man at Brooklyn Bowl, June 5th, 2012

Two entities came together Tuesday night at Brooklyn Bowl that are immense memories of Zerfas past. 1) Free shows 2) Man Man Live. Often times, the two came together, packaged, like mashed potatoes and kernel corn making the transition from Michigan summers to NYC summers all that much easier.

Man Man, a five-piece from Philadelphia, is a real hard band to put into words. I hadn’t had the pleasure of seeing their well renowned live show for a block of years now. Certainly, not since Life Fantastic was hypothesized, created and released. The album is true to its namesake—it’s fantastic. It shows maturity that one may not have ever come to expect if they were at the same catawampus, yet wildly entertaining, live performances I came to see in my early years of concerting in NYC.

I feel the need to be self-aggrandizing and reference myself, like every good writer does, out of my blog (then on Myspace…yeah.) from the first time I saw Man Man at Siren Festival in Coney Island:

July 16th, 2006

  • I was running late…all I could think is MAN…we’re not going to see MAN MAN, oh man, that can’t happen, man! (only a workable thought the FIRST time you see this band, everyone goes for the low hanging fruit Man Man joke…you have to)
  • The lead singer (Honus Honus) looks like a 70’s porno version of Richard Pryor donned in tribal war paint
  • Everything on stage was some kind of percussion. Literally. The stage. The speakers. Other band members. Chicken maracas! 
  • Chicken maracas!!?!?!?!? (they were so cool. I saw a posting on FB to which HH was begging whoever stole them at a show…to bring them back. Even citing a reward. They are no longer part of the 2012 show. Boooooo….)
  •  Five band members have microphones…they all use them.
  • The intro could only be described as five minutes of noise. I would say 100 people left during this intro. More would leave throughout the performance in pure awe. Families were running away!!! (it was a festival…people were just chilling in Coney…you know?)
  • Screaming. Lots of Screaming.
  •  Honus Honus unscrewed his microphone several times, but still sang into it.
  •  I would estimate 60 different instruments or things were used as instruments.
  • They shot each other with cap guns at random times throughout the show.
  •  HH left his keyboard to grab what looked like the top of a pot. He held it up in the air waiting for a silent part of the song, struck the pot, and threw it off stage.
So, as you can see, I enjoyed the zany brand of rock concert. Over the years, I've come to appreciate the intricate musical side of Man Man and what makes them such a dynamic band and not such a "pirate ship experiment." Obviously, with my own maturity, the band also matured, so we’ve grown together in a musical alliance making way for new years, better times and continuous delicious music for all my senses. The showmanship, however, will always be their calling card.

On this particular night, I presume we were seeing a band practice for Bonnaroo. I’m fine with that. I’ve always wanted to go to Bonnaroo, but still delightful to catch bands in tune-up mode sans heat, sand, dirt, hot sand, hot dirt and hot girls wearing nothing. Alright, it’s not all victories and spoils. 

I do love Brooklyn Bowl as a venue. Put it in my Top 5 in the city, just for the ambiance. You have a bowling alley. A great kitchen. A fantastic selection of beer. And the layout is architectural genius. I love it there. I would love to spend as much time as possible pillaging this fine establishment.

The sound is pretty good too. The opening band Diamond Doves, reminded me of time slipping away in life, but when Man Man took the stage, it had all the joy and wonderment of years past with the spiritual growth of a band continuing to improve itself. That’s all you can ask for.

They opened with “Van Helsing Boombox,” which I thought was a very interesting choice. Is that not the quintessential Man Man depressing set wind-down!? They followed with “Piranhas Club” a song that is bound to be an Adult Swim cartoon montage masterpiece. That’s just an awkward transition. When they cracked into “Mister Jung Stuffed” and “Top Drawer” I let out and “awww yeaaah…this is more like it!?” The live arraignment of “Hurly/Burly” is brilliant. Obviously, that’s one of those songs that’s tough to recreate live, but the way they are playing it right now, tastes slightly like Burt Bacharach multiplicity. Honus Honus made several outfit changes as per usual—red capes, women’s stockings, black bags, feathers, clinking keys, confetti and chaos. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Either way, this man, cannot live without Man Man. Yup, apples off the ground taste good too! Life IS Fantastic.

Sorry. I didn't write it down. It's tough with all their weird song titles and jams that actually are on the albums with weird song titles. I'll work on that for next time. 

Ryan Kattner aka Honus Honus
Christopher Powell aka Pow Pow
This guy is an animal!
The backing band.


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