Man Man @ House of Vans, 8/411
On Thursday, August 4th, Philadelphia’s avant-garde doom rock heroes, Man Man, performed at the House of Vans in Brooklyn, a warehouse used as a concert venue (and indoor skate park) in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.
Before this raucous party got started, the first opening act of the night was Crystal Antlers (Long Beach, California), a band that is known to blend experimental psych rock with punk. This band graced the audience with some solid guitar solos. The overall vibe that disheveled guitarist Andrew King and percussionist Damian Edwards created was, indeed, a powerful one to watch.
Next up was the disco duo Glass Candy (Portland, Oregon), a band consisting of Ida No and Johnny Jewel. No’s vocals weren’t strong enough to carry over the crowd, but her screeches and screams effectively ricocheted off the walls of the House of Vans as she danced all over the stage barefoot. Together, they were an entertaining duo whose support for each other could be seen in the way one would disappear offstage to let the other one stand in the limelight.
Finally, as Man Man took the stage, covered in neon war paint, attendees gravitated in from the courtyard outside and quickly heated up the industrial space. The neon-lit stage was decorated with balloons and random junk/trash/treasures. Two of the balloons were tied to wig-hair, making it stand straight up in the air for the duration of the first song. Items covering the stage included a BMX bicycle, standing vertically on its rear wheel. Then the band tossed kazoos out into the crowd, and the crowd surfing commenced.
Man Man’s set featured many songs off the recently-released album, Life Fantastic, an album that has been heralded for delivering “glorious and soulful noise”. Apart from all the crowd surfing during this non-stop performance, the band performed a series of simultaneous jumps onstage, with trumpets blaring loudly. Occasionally, they would use certain objects onstage as percussion instruments, such as giant water bottles and the BMX bicycle. Lead vocalist, Honus Honus changed into some kind of metallic superhero cape/costume but soon removed it because of how hot that energetic atmosphere had become. Later, he randomly blew some flower petals (or feathers) straight into the crowd.
An unexpected moment during the show was when Shilpa Ray (Shilpa Ray and Her Happy Hookers) joined the band onstage to sing a song. No introductions were made, however. It also rather disappointing that the show ended so abruptly, with no encore. However, truth be told, it was more of a visually entertaining show for the spectator than a sonically entertaining one.