Five-member band “Man Man” to perform in NoHo tonight

By Max Calloway

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Jared Berhardt/Flickr

“Before the world came into existence, all was a chaos, unimaginably limitless and without shape or form. Eon followed eon, particle became mass: then, lo! out of this boundless, shapeless mass something light and transparent rose up and formed the heavens. And from the heavens fell five shapes, loud and heavy and jumbled, and from these rough forms were shaped and sculpted the first firsts: Honus Honus (the High-August-First-Voice), Sergei Sogay (the Divine-Center-of-Four-Strings), Pow Pow (the August-Beat-Divinity), Critter Crat (the Divine-Twang-and-Everything-Else) and Chang Wang (the Other-Twang-and-Wondrous-Everything-Else).”

That is an excerpt from the creation story of the experimental powerhouse – Man Man –who will be gracing the stage at the Pearl Street’s downstairs clubroom this Thursday, Oct. 13.

The Philadelphian five-member group was formed sometime after the creation of the known universe and, as is probably obvious, play under pseudonyms.

Honus Honus leads the group on the electric piano, Pow Pow exceeds expectations on the drums and the remaining three members frantically switch between an array of instruments. Sergei Sogay, Critter Crat and Chang Wang take turns showcasing their talent on the bass, baritone guitar, melodic clavinet marimba and xylophone, saxophone and trumpet. Man Man also employs an assortment of eclectic percussion that occasionally includes smashing plates and setting off fireworks. The band also plays all of their songs double-time and continues making all sorts of noise in between. Sometimes there are feathers, literally.

After the release of their first two albums – 2004’s “Man with a Blue Turban with a Face” and 2006’s “Six Demon Bag” – the band steadily gained exposure with a reputation for dynamic and chaotic live performances. Man Man can be appropriately compared to music giants such as Tom Waits and Captain Beefheart, and the band’s Facebook mythology suggests similarities between them and Jazz legends Sun Ra and John Coltrane. Their music channels blues, jazz and rock, but the band has molded its own unique, demented musical force.

Man Man’s third album, “Rabbit Habits,” was released in 2008 and kicked off by a tour with the Brooklyn based indie band Yeasayer and Tim Fit. While on tour, Man Man performed at numerous music festivals around the world, including the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival and Barcelona’s Primavera Sound. More recently, Man Man shared the stage with gypsy punk pioneers Gogol Bordello to add to their list of star collaborators.

 

The band even gained their 15 minutes of fame on television when they were featured in a single Nike commercial. Showtime’s Weeds hosted the band for a rendition of the famous “Little Boxes” to play during the shows opening credits.

Man Man’s celebrity status hasn’t gone to their heads as they recently finished work on their fourth album, titled “Life Fantastic.” The original release date is scheduled for May 11, 2012, but there is talk of it being on-sale to purchase on Thursday night. Tickets are still available for tonight’s show through Man Man’s website and from Pearl Street Club.

Max Calloway can be reached at [email protected].