On the beat: Man Man take the stage Wednesday at Gabe’s

Man Man are heading to IC!
Man Man perform at Cosmic Charlie’s in Lexington, Kentucky — photo by Turner Burns

Man Man w/ Xenia Rubinos

Gabe’s – Saturday, Feb. 12 at 7:30 p.m. ($15 day of show)

Hailing from Philadelphia, Man Man started off sharing much in common with An Albatross, another band from their home state. While both bands put a premium on creating chaos and rampant experimentation, the underlying cores of their bands could not be further apart.

An Albatross put a great emphasis on noise rock, thrashing through songs and leaving mayhem in their wake. This was a formula from which they never deviated. Man Man, on the other hand has always been a piano-driven band. While there were more instruments and a considerably amount of insanity on their 2004 debut album The Man in a Blue Turban with a Face, the piano core has always existed.

As the band got older, Man Man began to alter its sound. While the Klezmer and gypsy punk elements were still there, Honus Honus, the main songwriter, became more subdued and took a different approach to his songwriting. By the 2011 album Life Fantastic, the experimentalism and the excessive instrumentation that was the hallmark of the band disappeared. What appeared in its space was a tightly orchestrated, neatly composed piano-pop project. This sound is further refined on the 2013 release On Oni Pond.

With the help of Saddle Creek producer Mike Mogis, Man Man has sanded down the rough edges of its past and created something that is both more pop-friendly as well as smartly crafted, an element that has always existed in their music even at its most raucous.

Ticket information for this show is available here, and be sure to check out our interview with Man Man’s Ryan Kattner while you’re at it.