Last Thursday, Kate and i trekked out to Lexington KY to see one of our absolute favorite bands in the world, Man Man! They are a band that we came across because Kate’s cousin suggested we check them out when they came through Knoxville last year. He told us that they were the best band he’d ever seen live, and that we wouldn’t leave disappointed if we saw them… he was totally correct on all accounts. They blew our minds, and we’ve been hooked ever since!
Rather than trying to describe what they sound like, which would take far too much time and every adjective in the book (plus a few made up ones), i suggest you head over to their myspace page and give them a few plays. every song they have written is awesome. seriously. super cereal.
So we headed out around 5 pm thursday to KY… we used my new Tom Tom, Damien, for guidance, and it guided us there no problem! We got to the venue (Cosmic Charlie’s) and we initially very amused at the eclectic bunch huddled outside the club. there were stereotypical hippies, trendy scenesters, a few “normal” people, and WAY more metal-looking people than you would have guessed.
I saw one of the Man Man dudes at the venue, so i said hey and told him how much we loved their music. he seemed down to earth and cool! (Notice i didn’t say i saw the band’s “bassist”, “guitarist”, or whatever… you can’t label any of the dudes in the band with a particular instrument because they’re all constantly playing so many different things! keys, horns, drums… nothing is safe) He also told me that they are going to begin recording a new album here soon, so i’m already pumped about that.
The opening band was from our town of Knoxville, yet we had never heard of them! Strange, huh? They were called Shortwave Society, and they really impressed us! It’s also some really strange music… semi-electronic, semi classical, a little Radiohead… odd stuff, but very cool! check them out at their myspace page.
So onto the main event, Man Man… they started off with a song we had never heard, and it was great! It had almost a surf feel to it, which is unusual for the band. Very cool. They played another few songs which we got to enjoy before the unfortunate appearance of Dance Commander.
I do not know Dance Commander’s true identity, but he is at every show i ever attend, no matter the location or the band. You have probably also met Dance Commander. He’s the douche factory at every show who feels obligated to show you how much he likes the band by dancing enthusiastically in very close proximity of you, usually stomping on your feet, bashing into you, and whipping your face with his hair. He often appears at metal shows under the guise of Mosh Commander, the guy who knows that even though you are clearly just there to *watch and listen to* the bands play, what you really ought to be doing is moshing with him and the other sweaty guys in the pit. He is oblivious to any attempts you make to let him know that you are happy doing what you are doing. He knows better than you.
This time, Dance Commander (henceforth “DC”) was in the guise of a tall skinny guy with lank blone hair, wearing an army jacket. He looked like a wormy, scrawny mid-20′s version of Mike from Opeth. He looked like shit. We were standing next to a couple we didn’t know, and the girl was even shorter than Kate. I feel bad for short people at concerts, that can’t be much fun at all… so, DC gets all riled up and is bashing into all four of us, especially the girls who were farther in front so they could see better. We all are trying to grab him by the shoulder, push him forward, keep him away etc, and the guy just keeps his jive on, flipping out like some poor shit afflicted by St. Vitus’ dance.
Dude doesn’t let up. I am in the habit of pushing DC’s forward with my elbow rather than my hand (god forbid i jam a finger and don’t get to play guitar for a few days at the cost of some dancing shithead at a concert). I am a bony guy in the first place, but i had also just sharpened my elbows on my grindstone that morning in preparation for any potential DC episodes. So i’m grinding my elbow into dude’s back to keep him away from myself and the short girls (have i mentioned NOBODY else around us is dancing, just this guy? what a douche), and he just flips out and acts all pissed for a second and shakes off my elbow. He is such a bitch that he never turns to any of us to say “screw you guys, i’m having fun!” or anything like that, either, he just stands there for a second, then resumes with his spasming. Kate grabs him by the arm with kung fu grip for a solid 5 or 6 seconds before he even acknowledges her, and he looks at her all pissed and tries to get out of her grip. That pretty well pissed me off. So, i step in front of the girls to try and better keep DC away. After a song is finished, i put my hand on his shoulder and say “dude, you can have a good time without slamming into everybody. you’re pissing everyone off. knock it off”. He, of course, didn’t even act like he heard me, but when the next song started, he was a bit more chill. then his phone rang and he walked off. The show was MUCH more fun after that.
They played a few familiar songs, but about 75% of the tunes were new! They sounded fantastic. A little less gypsy influence than their old stuff, a little more drum heavy, and a lot of xylophone (which i could always use more of). As a followup, a few songs later, DC returned, although he was several rows of people in front of us. He stood in front of a few teenagers who looked pretty much just like the crew from the movie Kickass. They all had matching “WTF???” looks on their faces, and endured many brutal hair-lashings by the end of the set.
Overall, it was TOTALLY worth the drive. They really put on an amazing show, and put a lot of feeling (and fun) into what they do. If anyone could see this band live and not crack a smile or nod their head with the beat, i would be convinced that they may be some type of replicant. In the latter scenario, i would have no choice but to administer a Voight-Kampf Test then and there.
Don’t ever be Dance Commander, people. Man Man’s music is SO fun and they are SO great live… yet i was so distracted by this crapbag that i didn’t even get to enjoy a handful of their songs. If you’re at a show, be respectful of people who are standing around you. At metal shows, there is usually a section of the crowd that is made up of other moshers; join them, and leave others in peace. At rock shows, there might be a group of people dancing and bashing into each other all willy nilly. If you want to do that, go stand there. Leave everyone else alone! DON’T BE DANCE COMMANDER!!!