The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

86° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Column: Man Man’s Congress show won’t dissapoint

Column: Man Mans Congress show wont dissapoint

Philadelphia experimental and indie-rock act, Man Man, brings its tour promoting the band’s 2013 album On Oni Pond, to Tucson at Hotel Congress at 7 p.m.

The reason Man Man fits under the experimental category is because the band performs with a lavish, yet occasionally goofy style. Every member goes by their own unique stage name and the band uses a wide variety of unusual and foreign instruments.

This is what makes its live shows loud and worth seeing. According to Adam Kivel’s live review from Consequence of Sound, “Even after releasing an album as mellow and dark as Life Fantastic, there was no chance that a band like Man Man would put on anything less than a stellar, chaotic, frenetic live show, much as they have done since 2004.”

The band usually hosts a bit of a clustered stage setup. Various equipment and instruments lay strewn all over the stage, but their presence is key to what makes the band’s live shows so excellent — the band makes use of all of them.

Man Man’s performances typically involve an array of lights, screens and goofy stage props that the band sets up itself. It’s shoddy, yet fun and creative, and it creates an energetic, yet intimate atmosphere; any change is welcome change for Man Man.

Kivel also noted this in his live review, writing that “The change in lineup … also brought in an extra vibraphone to pair with the marimba, some fancy rope lights, a video screen … and a giant diamond-shaped keyboard stand with a blue-green light that beat like a Mac product.”

The band’s brand of zaniness easily transfers to the audience, as stage dives and screaming fans are not uncommon at Man Man’s shows. Kivel wrote, “The audience’s gentle swaying had become a stage rush, hands reached up, feet danced along. A large contingent with war paint and glowsticks screamed and hollered along with [frontman Honus Honus] as he prowled the front of the stage.”

The way the band is able to make such dynamic use of small spaces, usually performing in smaller concert halls and clubs, is impressive. Man Man also doesn’t just perform songs from its newer records; the band digs deep into its older tracks too, with a lengthy set list, satisfying new and old fans alike.

Man Man has been at it for just over a decade at this point, coming out of the gate with its 2004 LP, The Man in a Blue Turban With a Face. The band immediately made a statement with its energetic and experimental style, good songwriting and the powerful, sometimes grunting vocals of frontman, Honus Honus.

Pitchfork’s Nick Sylvester was impressed by the album, giving it an 8.0. He wrote, “Brand me with a scarlet R—“R” for Rockist, the target-du-jour of East Coast music-writer McCarthyism—but I’m struck most of all by Man Man’s honesty.”

In the following years, Man Man experienced many lineup changes, almost having a rotating cast of musicians. However, this gave the band a lot of flexibility and opportunities to experiment with new talent.

With records like Six Demon Bag, Rabbit Habbits, Life Fantastic, and their most recent release, On Oni Pond, the band has continued to experiment yet still manage to have a somewhat cohesive sound, and have built up an arsenal of songs with varying styles and instrumentation that fans look forward to hearing at their live shows.

Be sure to check out Man Man’s Club Congress performance. The lively atmosphere and the band’s insane talent will definitely fill your concert fix.

Follow Paul Barlyn on Twitter.

More to Discover
Activate Search