Man Man | 10.17.11

Man Man is one of the most fun live bands working today; you should basically see them live any time you have the opportunity to.

 

 
 
 
Sure, Man Man’s new album Life Fantastic, for which they’re currently on tour, isn’t their best work. But there are at least two other relevant bits of information you need to know before you make your final decision on whether to go to Monday night’s show at the Firebird or not: 1. Life Fantastic is much better than its reviewers would have you believe; its main problem is that it just isn’t as good as its immediate predecessor, Rabbit Habits, which is an awfully tough standard of comparison. 2. Man Man is one of the most fun live bands working today; you should basically see them live any time you have the opportunity to.
Most St. Louisans came to know of Man Man’s prowess as a live band when they opened for Modest Mouse at the Pageant a few years back, and made Modest Mouse look bad by comparison. Remarkably, they’ve continued to play small venues on their handful of dates in town since: the Firebird (then the Bluebird) in fall 2008 and Off Broadway about a year after that. This time they’re coming back to the Firebird, and are more than welcome. A lot has been written about their stage style—typically, they wear all-white costumes and a small amount of white tribal paint, and are hairy and sweaty and very high-energy. But these descriptions don’t really do justice to the reality of seeing them live, nor do their albums (which are very good all the same), or even YouTube videos of them playing live. To get the magic of Man Man playing live, you have to see Man Man play live. A novel conceit, I know, but there you have it.
While I’m sure that many of the songs from the new album will be a lot of fun (particularly “Knuckle Down,” the album opener), you should know you’ve hit the jackpot if the band members start rhythmically shaking their house keys and motioning for the audience to do the same—this signifies the beginning of their best live song, “The Ballad of Butter Beans” from the aforementioned Rabbit Habits, all Zappaesque complicated keyboards and silly instruments used sporadically by lead singer Honus Honus in between the gruff vocals. I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re sick of playing that one by now, though, given it was a staple on their last album, so the good news is that even if they don’t, I’m sure that the rest of the show will be fun all the same. | Pete Timmermann
Man Man plays the Firebird in St. Louis October 17. Doors 7, show 8. $15 ($2 surcharge for minors).

 

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply