This show was gifted to me by my partner who likes to try to find things other than metal to expose me to, or to torment me; sometimes I’m not sure.
I did my research on Rebecca Black. I watched old music videos and any interview I could get my hands on. I saw the spoofs and comments, and then watched her newest video, “Anyway.” Apparently, I was one of the only people in the world that hadn’t seen or been a part of the fiasco that was YouTube in 2011 and the song “Friday.”
I made a point not to watch or read anything about Man Man, because sometimes I am masochist.
We arranged a spot in a coffee shop across from the venue to sit down with Rebecca. A woman of 21, on one hand she is young and has so much to learn in life; on the other hand, she has had a lifetime of experiences that the majority of us can’t even fathom. I found her to be incredibly pleasant and personable in our 20 minutes chat. We concluded the interview and she was back on her way across the street to the venue, where she took the stage just minutes after our interview.
One of the things I really liked about her was her no-nonsense look. She’s beautiful, but she didn’t capitalize on it. She wore ankle boots, a very tight pair of what looked like black bike shorts, and a patterned black and white blazer adorned with fringe. Her hair was like everyone else’s… brushed earlier that day; but for the bike shorts, she looked like she was there to see the show.
Justin, her hand-selected guitarist was the only accompaniment. Dressed in black, current in his look, a simple amp, and a beautiful white and gold Gretsch guitar was enough to provide support for Rebecca without taking from her. Ms. Black stood to his left with both hands on the mic stand. Behind and around them was the draped monstrosity that would be Man Man’s set.
Rebecca’s voice was nice. She was modest, convincing, playful, and sultry. She toyed with the crowd that because this show was on Friday, “…the song Friday just might make an appearance.” She sang songs from her heart. Nothing groundbreaking, but I think the entire crowd was impressed. She hit 99% of the notes, and her songs weren’t vocally simple. So, regardless if people came because they were fans or out of shear curiosity, Rebecca proved that she is indeed a vocalist.
While everything leading up to the song Friday in her set was good, the highlight was was when the crowd screamed as she asked if anyone wanted to hear “Friday.” She reworked the song, “to have a more modern feel,” and it was effective. The crowd sang back in the appropriate parts, and it looked as if she slightly choked up. She giggled after the song ended, “I’m so thankful you guys knew the parts…that would have been embarrassing.” She ended the set with a cover of No Doubt’s “Don’t Speak.”
Between sets I looked around and realized that I don’t think I’ve ever been somewhere where I was more out of place. I had a Soulfly shirt on under my sweatshirt, and didn’t dare show it. Man Man fans are certainly a group all their own. The drapes came off the equipment, the lights dimmed just enough to reveal a computer screen that said, “Nothing is real.” Fake flowers adorned the mash of instruments that looked like a pod of riff-raff connected to keep everyone afloat. A single drummer came out draped in a purple sequined cape and started a simple song. Weird I thought. Then the crowd began to sing. Loud. I had no idea what was going on. Man Man is a thing that is nearly indescribable. The rest of Man Man came out, all dressed in purple capes and took their spot. The amount of instruments was uncountable. There were horns. There were classic rock instruments. There were little keyboards with tubes. There were things I couldn’t even attempt to describe. (Taken from the all-knowing Wikipedia: Instruments played by the band include a clavinet, Moog Little Phatty, sousaphone, saxophone, trumpet, French horn, flute, bass clarinet, drum set, euphonium, Fender Jazz Bass, Danelectro baritone guitar, xylophone, marimba, melodica and various percussive instruments including pots and pans, toy noisemakers, Chinese funeral horns, spoons, smashing plates, and fireworks.) It was all so chaotic and strange to me as they began to play, but the crowd knew exactly what they were singing. It was possibly the most interactive show I’ve ever seen. It was like that one time when I saw KoRn live in the 90s, but was unfamiliar with them. I was close to the stage, on the floor, with a fan who was a big KoRn fan. I caught the grove and was moving around, and when the song stopped the fan base knew it was over, but I didn’t…and I kept moving. Of course I tried to play it off like I was doing something purposeful, but I felt like a dork. It was the same for me on this night. I’d catch a beat or groove, but then it would change and I was still going. I was so overstimulated and confused that I didn’t even know where to look. I decided to take a moment and focus on each of the members. I just stared at them hoping they didn’t notice that I was the only one who wasn’t singing. Well into the third song, after I elbowed my partner hard as if to say (what the heck is this?) … I realized that the amount of indistinguishable noise coming from this band was actually really bothering me. I laughed to myself because I listen to extreme death metal on a daily basis.
I was definitely missing something because the Man Man fans and the members looked to be having the time of their life.
I think Man Man need to name their fans like ICP’s Juggalos, or Slipknot’s Maggots. Maybe Jimmy Buffet’s Parrot Heads.
I stepped from my pristine front row position during song #4 and headed to the back row to watch the crowd watch their band.