Words by Dennis Ruhlin | Photo by Mike Persico
It doesn’t matter what time of year it is, there’s always something interesting going down in Asbury Park, NJ. Case in point, Man Man rocked the punk out of the Asbury Lanes last Thursday evening to a group of extremely loyal, weather-braving fans. The show opened with Vons Mons, Weird Fantasy Band, and the weird-out duo Xenia Rubinos. When Man Man finally took the stage, the small yet super-amped crowd went utterly ballistic.
For anyone who hasn’t seen Man Man live, I urge you to give the Philly punkers a chance. It’s raw, it’s fun, and most importantly, it’s weird. Weird you say? Yea, weird. Like everyone was dressed in glow-in-the-dark skeleton body suits, Honus Honus wore a white fur coat for a good while, and occasionally donned a cheap Halloween alien mask while belting out the hits. Weird, right! But for as weird as it got, it was every ounce the raspy, haunting, organ-fueled Man Man we know and love from their albums.
It was amazing seeing this band in the small and intimate Asbury Lanes, and you got the feel from them that they were pumped to be playing for a small, die-hard crowd too. Maybe it was the abundance of high fives, or their reactions when everyone was singing along word for word, but the more enthused the crowd got, the more Man Man rocked. When you see a band and the audience feed off each other like that, it’s pretty incredible.
The set list was largely filled with their best tracks from On Oni Pond and Rabbit Habits, with a few oldies thrown in for good taste. As the band bounced around their catalog, the crowd went from moshing to “Push the Eagle’s Stomach” and throwing down to “Top Drawer” to chilling out and grooving along with “King Shiv”.
A killer surprise was when Xenia Rubinos (also in a glow in the dark skeleton suit) joined Man Man on stage and sang backup vocals on “Pink Wonton”, “Head On (Hold On To Your Heart)”, and “King Shiv”. Her powerful voice was sexy and beautiful and paired perfectly with the raw, edgy sound of Honus. She turned “Head On” into a haunting love song and “King Shiv” into a sultry synth-wave ballad. It was all totally unexpected, but definitely a high point of the show.
If you’re in the area, visit the Asbury Lanes sometime. It’s a killer Asbury Park landmark, just a stone’s throw away from the ocean, the Stone Pony, and the Wonder Bar. It’s well worth a visit, especially if a kick ass band like Man Man is playing.
Loot My Body
Mister Jung Stuffed
Pink Wonton (with Xenia Rubinos)
Head On (Hold On To Your Heart) (with Xenia Rubinos)
King Shiv (with Xenia Rubinos)
Push the Eagle’s Stomach
Werewolf (on the hood of yer heartbreak)
Young Einstein on the Beach
TheWaster.com | Asbury Lanes