Man Man The Silver Dollar, Toronto, ON - June 5, 2006

The five-piece freak-out pop team known as Man Man certainly proved themselves a riotously entertaining, if not specifically niche, live act when they made their second Toronto appearance before a modestly packed house of enthusiastic fans. Running and pole-vaulting through songs from the Philadelphian band’s two critically lauded albums for Ace Fu, the five men in Man Man bedazzled their fans by nailing home the complexities of their constantly shape-shifting compositions with energetic ease. There were so many instruments arranged on the stage that it looked like a junk shop: oddball percussion implements, xylophone, a giant retro organ, amps upon amps and a drum kit all sat piled onto the middle of the stage as Man Man dashed about, switching instruments and roles at a fanatical pace. Their perpetually stomping playfulness (imagine Tom Waits on a gleeful Animal Collective high) marched on triumphantly, hardly taking a moment to catch a breath. In retrospect it seemed fitting that the band all wore tennis whites and headbands while they performed, given the physical energy they put into their music. Man Man didn’t play for a long time, but their set certainly felt full enough, especially considering how after a while of being exposed to this stuff, the eccentricities and complexities start to blend and mash into each other like a schizophrenic impression of reality. For their encore, Man Man marched, sang and hand-clapped their way from the back of the club through the spectators and onto the stage to kick out one final head-twisting song before leaving the appreciative audience to walk home with smiles stuck firmly to their faces.