02 July 2007

Man Man= Awesome

I took my first trip for the summer out to McCarren Pool on Sunday to see Illinois, Dengue Fever and Man Man. The weather and company (thanks Rachel) couldn't have been nicer and the location more convenient. Having my fridge and bathroom only steps away is key to making these shows really enjoyable.

Illinois (from "Bucks County", although Philly claims them) played an energetic set but didn't seem to fill the space all that well. This is admittedly a challenge because the pool is gigantic and the sound is a mid-range mush. Still, fun to see them playing on a big stage, I have a soft spot for them. I have no idea how to asses whether LA-based Dengue Fever was "good" or not. The music was fun and well-executed, they have engaging stage presence and lead singer Chhom Nimol is charismatic and cute. So, ok, they're good. I wonder how long the hipster kids will be into Cambodian pop music but what do I know?

First (and not my last) time for me seeing Man Man. They are incredibly fun to watch and hear. They took the stage in all-white outfits with a few brightly colored head bands here and there and settled into a kind of Tortoise-y stage plot: packed in tight w/ the two guys up front facing in towards each other. Lots of jumping around and general mayhem. Their material takes a page out of Tom Waits's book: they play music for an other-worldly, psycho, gypsy carnival. They incorporate wacky, stutter-step, shifting meter and polyrhythmic arrangements, falsetto backing vocals, odd-ball instrumentation and Animal Collective-esque bashing percussion and shouted vocal lines into virtually every song. I'm going to assume "Honus Honus" is the lead singer and keyboard player and he sets of the falsetto "meow meow meow" backing vocals with a pretty damn good Tom Waits impersonation.

All in all, a great day out for another fantastic free summer 07 show. Nothing on my calendar for this week since I didn't get New Porn tix for July 4th. I also wanted to go see Fujiya and Miyagi and South Street Seaport, but I have a gig with Our Lady J and the Pink Champagne Orchestra that night.

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