Straight outta Philadelphia and into the open arms of Portland's Hawthorne Theater, the five gentlemen that make up Man Man ripped through an hours' worth of material in what seems like thirty seconds. The expectant crowd sat through two opening bands, not to mention the final game in this years' World Series (wicked awesome, Boston). Fifteen minutes after they were scheduled to play, the boys finally set up shop on stage and quickly disappeared. What the hell are they doing? Was the question on everyone in the crowd's mindâ€¦
Suddenly, Blonde Redhead started blaring out of the venue's speakers and band member Chang Wang suddenly appears pumping his fists and smiling from ear to ear. With names like Pow Pow and Chang Wang you really shouldn't expect anything ordinary from these fellows.
Finally the entire band came marching onto the stage in their all-white fatigues and war paint and destroyed every soul lurking in the
Hawthorne Theater. Through the entire set they only slowed down once â€“ and that was to request more vocals in the monitors so lead singer Honus Honus could use his pretty voice to it's full capacity. You could see his discomfort in the fact that he had to stop their pace to talk to the sound guy. All he wanted to do was keep the frenetic ball rolling down destructo mountain, but he felt he had to do the audience the favor of making sure his voice sounded decent enough.
I had heard about the energy of live Man Man shows before, but words after-the-fact will never do it justice. You have to experience this band in person for yourself. Think of a carnival freak show steam calliope engine rolling down a mountain of razors at a breakneck pace, packed to the gills with old school B-movie monsters, unstable blues artists and the spirit of Captain Beefheart all wrapped up into a hand-rolled cigarette laced with PCP.
The songs themselves only sound better the faster they go. With no regard to tuning, the Manmen cover any possible missteps with wild grunting and screamingâ€¦ and it works.
Often times, in mid-song any one of the four players surrounding Honus Honus will pick up an instrument from their seemingly endless supply of out-of-the-ordinary things to use as instruments to flavor the already crazy stew of music these cheesesteaks are creating.During one song the audience can see a Rhodes Piano, A full wood Xylophone, a slide whistle, a kitchen pot, a smiling red apple shaker and a squirrel with a grass skirt perched atop a hi-hat, all being used to create the Man Man soundscape. It's intense to say the least. The band works like a well-oiled machine. They never break their pace. They have an insane amount of energy and none of it goes wasted. The Man Man train is bound to leave the station in a hurry. You better make sure you're on board.
10 lb. Mutsache