I've always assumed Man Man was one of those bands that's best enjoyed live; their tribal, gypsy-ish music on record, while fun, has always struck me as walking the "novelty band" line, and I wasn't sure that it was something I'd still be listening to down the road (except maybe for "Moustache", which I could listen to over and over). However, the whole tribal thing seems to work really well in a live setting, especially in the outdoors. I didn't see Man Man's legendary set at the Pitchfork Festival last summer, which may have been an even more apt environment for their show amongst the trees and in the light of day as opposed to on an asphalt street at night, but their set on Saturday was still a blast to see and hear.
Download: Man Man - "I'd Rather Go"
After the longest sound check ever, during which the sound board apparently ran out of inputs for all of their mics and instruments, the seven members of Man Man briefly left the stage and reappeared wearing all white and sporting some white war paint on their faces, making for quite the spectacle. The stage itself was filled to the brim with band members, piles of instruments and other random items that littered the stage (rubber duckies, bowls of water, dream catchers). Man Man soared through 40 minutes of continually high energy music without taking a single break between songs, making their show feel nice and cohesive, especially at the points when all seven members chanted or banged a drum/random object in unison. Most of my attention focused on singer/keyboardist Honus Honus, whose infectious energy was a pleasure to watch as he pounded on his severely beat-up keyboard, bounced around the stage in his absurdly short white cut-off denim shorts, and kept the songs moving with his deep, throaty vocals. Meanwhile, the rest of the band seemed to be having equally as much fun, with big smiles plastered on their faces as they rotated through instruments, hopped up and down, shouted along to the music and made bizarre facial expressions throughout. When a band seems to be enjoying themselves that much, it's hard not to enjoy yourself along with them.