Although Mr. Bungle has never officially broken up, the three-ring circus of spastic, hyper-speed weirdos might never get together again. Luckily, Philly-based Man Man has stepped in to pick up the oddball slack. The gravelly voice of Man Man's mustachioed ringleader, Honus Honus, is comparable to Tom Waits and Captain Beefheart's Don Van Vliet, after drinking two liters of bootlegged moonshine. He leads the band through a series of piano-dominated songs that would sound right at home in a saloon, on a pirate ship, around a campfire with a bunch of gypsies or even at some deranged big top. On their latest, Six Demon Bag
, the song "Young Einstein on the Beach" plays out like a shrieking and surly Mr. Bungle-and-Yamatsuka Eye collabo, while "Engrish Brudd," with its "fee, fi, fo, fum, I smell the blood of an Englishman" chorus, is every bit as much a fairy tale as a chantey rising over the sea. With all their percussion, synths, horns, accordions, guitars and other noisemakers, Man Man's live show is indeed a romping spectacle to behold.
Opening are the Lovely Feathers, a Montreal-based combo that not only shares a label with their fellow Montreal Islanders but also engages in a similar style of absurdist pop. Although there are plenty of upbeat numbers like "In the Valley," "The Only Appalachian Cornfield" and "Rod Stewart" on the Lovely Feathers' new album, Hind Hind Legs, the band is apt to shift tempos and reduce the frantic singing to whispers. Pavement and Why? fans, take note.