by Belinda Cai
52 days ago
Posted In: Reviews
at 11:07 AM | Permalink
Man Man is
a band that thrives on live performances, aka circus-themed Halloween parties
sprinkled with confetti and a touch of grotesqueness. The five-piece
experimental group has an insatiable flair for the dramatic and is never short
of kooky stage props. This held true at Tuesday’s performance at the Wexner
Center of the Arts, where a sleeping Furby, a werewolf-like skeleton holding a
wig and a colorful glow-in-the-dark drum set augmented the band’s theatrical
Honus Honus (Ryan Kattner) dazzled as he frantically played the keys — often
times with his foot, even — and sang with his customary raspy fervor. He was a
shape-shifter extraordinaire, transforming from normal dude to circus
ringmaster of sorts to alien. His manic wardrobe changes were anticipated, as
it is basically a Honus trademark. The rest of the band — Pow Pow, T. Moth,
Brown Sugar, Shono Murphy, as well as talented opening artist Xenia Rubinos — likewise
entertained with lots of dancing and instrumental finesse. All of this is pretty
formulaic for Man Man.
it’s not every day that the audience at a concert gets to share the stage with
the band itself. The show took place in the “black box” space of the Wex’s vast
Mershon auditorium that seats nearly 2,500 people. Guests stood on the stage,
which was blocked off from the rest of the auditorium, to watch the show in an
intimate, tight-knit setting — ideal for moshing and the like.
the concession at show was lacking. There were $1 waters and pops available but
no booze, which perhaps explained why there was little to no moshing. Although
highly energetic crowds and moshing are routine at Man Man concerts, the
Columbus show was just as fun without the raucousness. It had more of a
respectful “in awe” type crowd, which fit nicely with the band’s attempt at
adopting a more mature and refined sound with their new album.
kicked off their set list with “Oni Swan” and “Pink Wonton,” the first and
second tracks off of their recently released album, On Oni Pond. “Oni Swan” is a brief instrumental opener for the
catchy and vibrant “Pink Wonton,” which critics claim most closely embodies Man
Man’s previous musical style.
On Oni Pond was the focal point of the show and
this was made evident by the backdrop that showcased the album art courtesy of
artist Andrea Wan. The band affectionately played tracks such as the sultry
“Paul’s Grotesque,” the boisterous “Loot My Body,” their more relaxed and
heartfelt single “Head On,” “King Shiv” and “Born Tight.” It was apparent that
Man Man embraces its newer, mellower sound, which has a focus on bona fide
lyricism rather than sheer eccentricity.
also made sure to satisfy diehard fans of their previous albums Life Fantastic, Rabbit Habits, Six Demon Bag
and The Man In A Blue Turban With A Face
by playing hits such as “Zebra,” Piranhas Club,” “Mister Jung Stuffed,” “Hurly
/ Burly,” “Doo Right,” “Push the Eagle’s Stomach” and others.
new direction of On Oni Pond, the
overall eccentricity of Man Man was not lost during the concert. In fact, the
band upped the ante in this aspect. Honus came out in a sparkly hooded cloak
during “Haute Tropique,” a song about a serial killer, and proceeded to fling
confetti onto the audience. He did this as he sang, “Oh here's a story of a
lovely lady / Who had three daughters who drove her fucking crazy / She hacked
‘em up with an old machete / And threw a party with dead daughter confetti.”
Grotesque has never been so fun and glittery.
I have to
admit that the best part of the show was the extended encore, during which
Honus came out in an Anderson Cooper shirt that my sister just so happened to
airbrush for him. “I love it. Maybe I’ll actually give it to Anderson,” he said
to her before the show, when she presented it to him. (Yes, my sister and Honus
are acquainted and yes, I am totes jealous.) Honus had a cameo on Anderson Cooper 360° in September in
regard to Man Man’s Wolf Blitzer-themed song, “End Boss.” He appeared on the
segment in a bad ass tunic with Wolf’s face plastered all over it and, hey, it
got Anderson’s attention. What more could one want?So Honus came out for the encore in the Anderson shirt and proceeded to perform
four very popular fan favorites from older albums — “Steak Knives,” “Van
Helsing Boom Box,” “Engrish Bwudd” and “Young Einstein on the Beach.” The first
two songs were melancholic and heartfelt, playing on the emotions of the
audience. The latter two were crowd-pumping, face-melting tracks that
completely changed the atmosphere from somber to vivacious, ending the show on
a high note.
without the booze, Man Man was one hell of a party and a band that is worth
every dollar to see live.
Eccentric Philly band doesn’t know the rules, so it just keeps breaking them
0 Comments · Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Known for its irreverent songs and
unpredictable, gloriously ramshackle live shows, Man Man defies
convention at nearly every turn.
Oct. 16 • Southgate House
0 Comments · Monday, October 10, 2011
Man Man isn’t just a band doing a gig on a tour for a new
album, it’s avant garde theatre and Chinese new year and Tom Waits’ skid
row barbeque all rolled into one exquisite musical clusterhump.