Man Man – Maxwell’s (Hoboken, NJ)

Hoboken is a strange enough place on a Monday night, but throwing in the wildly experimental soundtrack of Philadelphia’s Man Man spreads a bizarre and intoxicating icing on the cake. Led by frontman Honus Honus on Rhodes piano, the five-man troupe plays an undefined brand of music that thrives on a percussive chanting gypsy carnival feel. Man Man sounds like Captain Beefheart had spawned bastard sons across Eastern Europe, they got together and locked themselves in the basement of a pawnshop and got drunk on homemade wine and started making music.

Faces dabbed with white war paint, Man Man wailed away on an eclectic array of instruments from xylophone to melodica (or key-flute) to horns such as saxophone and trumpet, but the driving undercurrent remained piano/keyboard and forceful drumming. Pulling from their four-album song bag they played a mix of old and new that riled the crowd, a mob of sweaty dudes, who were more like a cult than a fraternity, dancing and singing along. Honus Honus relished in the madness, whipping handfuls of glitter everywhere and starting a crowd-wide key-jingling intro into their hit “The Ballad of Butter Beans” and leading the charge of inebriated pirate chanting on “Feathers.”

-John Figlesthaler

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