Friday, March 8, 2013

Live Review - The Men @ Bowery Ballroom

While the snow began to fall outside in New York City and the temperature felt like it continued to drop with every step toward Bowery Ballroom, the heat inside the Lower East Side club was getting higher by the second with every note played by Brooklyn experimental punks, The Men. Going on at 11p.m. sharp, the band, sans drummer Rich Samis walked on stage and began playing off their own feedback, reverb, and thrusted into a full on tension-filled musical drone. As the crowd all seemed to be anticipating a moment of musical impact, Samis got behind his hit and roared into "Electric," at which point the crowd, simply went apeshit. With bodies on the floor pushing each other to form circle pits, plastic cups of beer being hurled in every direction and fists being raised in the air, The Men were about to give a sold-out show for the ages.
The Men, who just released their latest, New Moon, which had them relocate to the Catskills to write and record, were playing more than just a record release party of sorts, it was the biggest headlining gig they have ever played since forming in 2008. The band, who gained notoriety by managing to really just keep themselves in Brooklyn without much travel before releasing last years acclaimed album, Open Your Heart, they are now one of the most talked about bands in indie rock, even landing a Village Voice cover. So, it came to no surprise that New Moon would have been one of the years most anticipated albums and this gig would be sold-out and would be so special.
Playing a majority of songs off New Moon, which hears them dabble more into Americana, doo-wop, blues, and jazz, it hears a perfect musical evolution who brought experimental elements to their garage and punk sound early on in their careers. While they have no official lead singer, three of the members trade off on vocal duties, The Men are a collective of musicians who are feeding off each other and the sounds they love. The crowds they play in front of feed off that energy and channel it into someone anyone can appreciate. With massive jam breakdowns to extend their new songs and show off what they can do as musicians, it would generate and ebb and flow within the dynamic of the bands setlist. Once they would break free from their jam style and go back to full on punk mode, it would become a righteous and raucous affair, but they would then return to the new jam style and would calm things down.
It will be curious to see what this band does from here on out on the road and in the future, one thing is for sure, they do know how to keep a crowd on their toes and constantly guessing as to what they will do next.