The boisterous musical behemoths from Philadelphia known as Man Man stomped into New Yorkers’ neck of the woods this past Sunday night, performing a lively set at Brooklyn Bowl in Brooklyn, NY. If for some strange reason you’ve been living under a rock and have never heard of Man Man, just imagine Tom Waits and Gogol Bordello getting together to take a stab at Paul McCartney’s “Monkberry Moon Delight.” Man Man is one-of-a-kind, and is one of the most pleasantly bizarre sounding bands of the last decade
Singer/Songwriter/Multi-instrumentalist Ryan Katter (Honus Honus) and his gang of merry pranksters took the stage to an enthusiastic crowd of long-time fans and newcomers alike, eagerly awaiting the start of the show. As the lights went down, one by one the band occupied the dimly-lit stage. The last to arrive – the man, the myth, the experimental guru; Honus Honus entered to a massive round of applause and cheers from an adoring audience.
The set began with the rapid-fire percussive opening of “Easy Eats or Dirty Doctor Galapagos” from their 2008 album Rabbit Habits, followed by “Mister Jung Stuffed” from the same record. Immediately the band kicked it into high-gear with a couple of fan-favorites. However, it was not only past highlights that made up the evening’s selections. There were a handful of unknown songs, perhaps new material, peppered throughout the set list as well.
Of course, no present-day Man Man set would be complete without the popular hits that have defined the last five years of their career. Songs like “Piranhas Club”, “Loot My Body”, and most importantly “Head On” garnered some of the strongest reactions from the crowd. The energy level was sky-high throughout the show, even prompting some concert-goers to show off their stage diving and crowd surfing skills.
The classic stage theatrics were aplenty during the hauntingly gorgeous “Haute Tropique”, while the trench-coat-wearing Honus Honus snarled as he hurled confetti into the air. “You’re born what you’re meant to be, if you’re bad then be bad the best,” he madly crooned in the chorus. “If you’re good stay away from me, I’m a bad influence, I’m the best.” The best indeed!
Never to disappoint the long-time fans, the boys ripped into an awe-striking version of “Push the Eagle’s Stomach” from their breakthrough 2006 album Six Demon Bag, as well as a ten-minute masterful performance of “Werewolf (On the Hood of Your Heartbreak)”. For the encore, Honus returned, just him and his ukulele, for a solo performance of “Deep Cover”. The lengthy encore continued with their career-establishing hits, “Engrish Bwudd” and “Top Drawer,” before wrapping it all up with some older fan favorites such as “Van Helsing Boombox” and “Ice Dogs” among others.
The evening was jam-packed with quirky experimental beauty and the audience was loving every minute of it. If you’ve never had the pleasure of witnessing the untried glory that is a Man Man concert, I highly recommend you making this a live music priority. Every performance seems like their last. Hold on to your heart, because the maniacal men of Man Man are going to take you for a wild ride!
By Joseph Conlon
Easy Eats or Dirty Doctor Galapagos
Mister Jung Stuffed
Loot My Body
Push the Eagle’s Stomach
Werewolf (On the Hood of Your Heartbreak)
Oh, La Brea
Van Helsing Boombox
Young Einstein on the Beach
[Photo via Instagram user gfort]