Scrolling Headlines:

Third and 20 S2 Episode 8 -

September 29, 2016

Author, poet and ex-con gives talk on criminal justice reform -

September 29, 2016

Israeli writer Ari Shavit speaks at Integrative Learning Center -

September 29, 2016

Alex DeSantis continues strong play for UMass men’s soccer as season reaches midway point -

September 29, 2016

Andrew Ford looks to continue to lead UMass football’s torrid offensive passing attack -

September 29, 2016

Sunset Grill and Pizza adjusts as a new restaurant in Amherst -

September 29, 2016

UMass field hockey falls 8-1 to No. 1 UConn -

September 29, 2016

Offensive-oriented practices hold high hopes for UMass women’s soccer with A-10 opener Thursday -

September 29, 2016

Hyper-stress on college campuses: a culture of high achievement leads to increased rates of mental illnesses -

September 29, 2016

Race of candidates should not affect voter turnout -

September 29, 2016

Students share what keeps them happy during the fall -

September 29, 2016

Harvest’s millennial-pandering replacement to Chameleon Cold Brew leaves caffeine fans at a loss -

September 29, 2016

Guide to fall 5K races and beyond -

September 29, 2016

UMass Votes Coalition hosts voter registration event -

September 28, 2016

Brettell presents on U.S. immigration policies -

September 28, 2016

UMass field hockey team seeks revenge against undefeated UConn -

September 28, 2016

UMass running back Marquis Young looks to build off momentum gained against Mississippi State -

September 28, 2016

UMass hockey announces captains for 2016-17 season -

September 28, 2016

Andy Isabella finds his niche within the UMass football offense -

September 28, 2016

The EpiPen Crisis: How did this happen? -

September 28, 2016

Rock like a “Man Man” in NoHo this weekend

Philadelphia-based experimental rock group Man Man will perform in Northampton this Saturday, Oct. 3 at 9 p.m. at the Pearl Street Nightclub. Tickets can be purchased on the Pearl Street website for $12.50 or at the door for $15.

Man Man’s current lineup is currently comprised of a fluctuating number of multi-instrumentalists with pseudonyms, fronted by vocalist/keyboardist Ryan Kattner (or “Honus Honus”). The other core members go by “Sergei Sogay” on bass, “Chang Wang” on saxophone, “Pow Pow” on drums and “Critter Crat” on guitar/trumpet.

They have released three albums since their formation in 2003 The most recent, “Rabbit Habits,” was released in April of last year to generally positive reviews and the band’s greatest commercial success yet (despite a fairly negligible sales impact).

Musically, Man Man’s style is a blend of gypsy jazz, honky-tonk vaudeville and frenetic rock. Their startling arrangements hide forgotten treats like the clavinet, sousaphone and euphonium alongside the electric bass, synthesizer and – in a jam – fire extinguisher. The antique mischief in their instrumentation, anchored by Honus Honus’s piano, brings their sound into the realm of mythic Americana.

In their notoriously raucous live shows, Man Man has been known to perform theatrical stage antics, from jarring light displays, jumping and kicking in time to already jerky rhythms. In preparation for these performances, each member dresses in all white and wears war paint, giving the group a collective character like that of a feral tribe of tennis players.

Their oddball instrumentation, absurdist sensibilities and over-the-top theatrics belly a certain melancholy that covers all of their music in a Gothic shade (that’s Poe’s “Gothic,” not your little sister’s “gothic”). Man Man’s bombastic sadness recalls Tom Waits at his best and P.T. Barnum at his worst.

It’s that damp, back-alley street music dynamic – at once exciting and gloomy – that has endeared Man Man to their fans and confused and repulsed everyone else. In spite of the predictably low record sales that come with independent releases and (arguably) inaccessible music, they have garnered a good deal of media attention. Their music has been featured in a line of Nike ads starring Rainn Wilson and an episode of Weeds.

Less unwarranted is their wide exposure on the indie scene. They achieved relative prominence during their 2007 tour with Modest Mouse, where their wild-eyed stage capers wowed audiences and, by many accounts, upstaged the aforementioned headliners. Then, in 2008, they played at the Voodoo Experience music festival.

But on Saturday night, they will be playing to a club crowd – albeit in a club with a capacity of 1200. So all those strange, swampy, sad-clown stage surprises that have made Man Man such an intriguing act will feel right up close and personal, such that one might almost be able to reach up and stroke Honus Honus’s mustache or flip a silver dollar into the bell of Chang Wang’s sax. In fact, if you are at the show Saturday night, you should definitely throw some change at the stage – the band would doubtless incorporate it into their unholy percussive chorus.

Garth Brody can be reached at gbrody@student.umass.edu.

Leave A Comment