After a year of hard touring in anticipation (and then in celebration) of their excellent 2013 outing On Oni Pond, Philly’s Man Man closed out the year last night with the riled-up live show we’ve come to know and love from them, this time headlining Underground Arts. Opening the show was fellow Philly avant-pop crew Banned Books; check out a gallery of images from the show below.
In September 2010, we started The Key because we wanted to offer the local music scene another platform to reach more audiences. We also started it because starting in the early aughts we noticed something happening here creatively amongst the local music scene that was hadn’t felt in a while – it was growing creatively and the buzz about how good the local scene was becoming more significant.
More new bands were starting than ever before, more music was becoming available for fans and more musicians were looking for ways to connect to fans. To me, the last five years of “the scene” reminds me a lot of the Philly music scene in the mid-Eighties to early Nineties when bands like Electric Love Muffin, Three Times Dope, The Wishniaks, Nixon’s Head, the Goats, the Dead Milkmen, Schoolly D, The Low Road, The Hooters, DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, and Tommy Conwell all represented for Philly on both local and international stages. We thought Philly 2012 was a banner year for the local music scene. Guess what? 2013 was even better. Here are some of the best things about the Philly music scene in 2013.
Experimental rock outfit Man Man will take the stage at Underground Arts tonight. The band released its most recent album On Oni Pond back in September, mixing quirky yet intelligent lyricism with huge hooks and a wide range of instrumentation. Find tickets and more information on tonight’s show here. Watch the video for “Born Tight” below.
After its two-night stand at Union Transfer this Halloween, Philadelphia’s Man Man announced today that it would return home at year’s end for a headlining gig at Underground Arts on the 29th of December. Tickets for the 21+ show go on sale tomorrow at noon via Ticketfly. Below, watch a video of the band playing “End Boss” last time they were in town.
We’ve seen performance videos of musicians in cabs, hotel rooms, stairways, empty swimming pools, bowling alleys, tanning beds, and various rooftops, but we’ve rarely seen songs performed on flatbed trucks as they’re driving through the city streets. We honestly don’t know how Honus Honus from Man Man kept his composure for the making of this video. Below, watch him perform “Hold On” on the back of a flatbed truck for Soul Pancake.
Philadelphia’s Man Man kicked off their two-night stand at Union Transfer last night, and even though it was technically not yet Halloween, the guys were costumed-out in skull shirts and alien masks. ‘Cause when you’re Man Man, every day is Halloween. Check out photos of their nicely illuminated performance and its various costume changes in the gallery below, along with some shots of opener Grandchildren. The party continues tonight at Union Transfer with a sold-out bill of Man Man, King Kahn and the Shrines, Melt Banana and Hell Shovel. See you there?
The fourth annual TJ Kong and The Atomic Bomb Halloween Spectacular will be raging at Underground Arts tonight. Referred to as a “Costume Ball Rock n’ Roll Murdershow” on the Facebook event page, this is sure to be an interesting event. With TJ Kong’s folk garage rock as the headliner, its going to get raucous and fun. They will be joined by Philadelphia up and comers Cold Fronts, so get there early!
Self-proclaimed “open-door gospel” and Americana band Spirit Family Reunion will bring their strings and spirit to Johnny Brenda’s tonight. Although the Brooklyn-born band rejects the label of “blue-grass”, the heavy fiddle and banjo presence makes for some good ol’ boot stompin’ dancin’ music. Tickets for the show are available here.
Our pals Man Man are playing two hometown shows at Union Transfer this week – including one on Halloween. While spooky music is always an interweb favorite around this time of year, we couldn’t think of any better band to pull together a list of Halloween favorites than Honus Honus and Pow Pow. They’ve made some terrific choices here including music from Sun Ra, The Misfits, the Italian prog-rock band Goblin, the soundtrack to Friday the 13th (Part 3!), the Sixties television show Dark Shadows, and they even manage to fit in a classic from Little Shop of Horrors with Steve Martin. Check out their playlist below, and find tickets and info on their October 30 and 31 shows at Union Transfer at the XPN Concert Calendar.
Philly’s Man Man release their new album, On Oni Pond (Anti- Records) this week. Last Friday, September 6th the band gave us a taste of some of the songs from the album when they played Free At Noon. You can listen to that show here. Below, read our review of the new album written by XPN’s Mike Vasilikos.
For fans of the Philadelphia band Man Man, On Oni Pond, the band’s fifth studio album capitalizes on so much of what you love. The band’s energy is contagious, the songs brilliantly bizarre, and despite a love for experimentation this collection is easily the band’s most accessible to date. Yes, On Oni Pond is more focused but it’s no less fun and certainly no less interesting. In fact, it’s arguably the band’s most intriguing album.
One can only imagine that for a band like Man Man the ideas are always overflowing. Given the tremendous energy and dense musical landscape of their songs, the challenge of tightening things up seemed to be just that, a challenge. But for On Oni Pond, the guys headed into the studio with producer Mike Mogis (Bright Eyes, Monsters of Folk), who apparently did his best to harness that energy and focus it into an infectious batch of tunes. From the wonderfully weird “Pink Wonton” that threatens to “waterboard me with call me maybe” to the futuristic sounding “Paul’s Grotesque” Man Man hit high marks.
The band served up some early indicators that their sound was evolving on album standouts like “Head On”, an immediate radio hit. And yet, their willingness to experiment and push boundaries isn’t compromised. On Oni Pond is a perfect balancing act, it walks a line of energized determination and frantic fun. It’s one of the year’s great surprises.
Don’t miss Man Man playing a double-header show at Union Transfer on October 30th and 31st. Find tickets and more information here.