...And now my past 10 years with Man Man
My mom had to drive us to the venue, buy our tickets for us, walk us through the front door and then kindly kept walking right out the back door. This wasn't a 'cool mom' who buys you beer sort of situation - this wasn't for alcohol of any kind, this was for a Man Man show.
Howard's Club H in Bowling Green Ohio had a pretty strict 18+ policy (apparently that policy didn't apply when at ages 15-17 I played on their stage) The only way I was getting in that night was chaperoned by my mother. My friends Paul and Solomon and I were very early for the show. Creepily early. We had heard the song "10lb Mustache" on the Ace-Fu website (RIP) and based on those 30 seconds of tin pots-n-pans drums ordered the album. It was unlike anything we had every heard. We became obsessed. For those of you who have never heard the band, I am going to try my best to explain it now: They’re great. You’re welcome.
My mom left after successfully sneaking us children into this rock n' roll show and we were left in a cavernously open room; Myself, Paul, Solomon, a bouncer, a bartender and Man Man. We were just kids among this group of strangers but that didn’t stop Paul from approaching the band and starting a conversation. I am almost positive that when Man Man got together and started writing music they never imagined their fans looking like these three dweebs, but we were real and we were real excited. I don’t remember much from that pre-show conversation. Paul did most of the talking and I was just nervous that I might get kicked out at any moment. I may have still had my braces. Someone was bound to notice. That night the band played to a packed house of sweaty 20-somethings and three teenage kids. I remember dancing and smiling and thinking, “this is the way it should be”.
One year later myself, Paul and Solomon drive 3 hours to Columbus, Ohio to see Man Man play at a bar called High 5. We arrived early, Paul started a conversation with the band, they remembered us. It was the first road trip we took as friends, it was exciting. We had come so far from the year before. The show was amazing. I can distinctly remember saying, “this is the way it should be”.
One year later I am a college freshman and not at all enjoying being a college freshman. I miss my friends from high school. I see that Man Man will be playing a show at the “cool” college across town. This time I go alone. I no longer have a Paul or a Solomon. I meet up with Man Man and for the first time I start a conversation. They remember me, the pudgy faced kid from Ohio. Honus asks me if I would like to get a preview of the new album in the band van. We sit in the front and he plays demos for me off of his iPod. I remember there being more guitars on this one than the previous album. Honus tells me it’s all about growing and expanding. They can’t keep making albums if they’re just going to smash keyboards. Some things need to change, they need to grow and mature. I remember thinking, “this is the way it should be”
One year later I am working for the college radio station and convince some friends to drive into the city to see Man Man play at a place called Cake Shop. Silly name, great venue. Once again, I am too young to get in. I am 20 and not the type of person who has a fake ID, but my friends Theresa and Skippo do. I see Honus outside. He gets me and my friends into the venue. We get a spot near the side of the stage, my friends have never seen Man Man before, I’m excited for them almost as much as I am excited for me. I know what is about to happen. My new friends and I dance and smile and I remember thinking, “this is the way it should be”
In the past 10 years I’ve been able to watch Man Man grow into this amazing group. Things should change and things should evolve, no matter what Pitchfork says. That’s what is great about bands that put in the work and that’s what is great about Man Man. I am no longer a chubby kid with blue hair and a myspace account - I’m a chubby man with no hair and a savings account. I'm seeing Man Man on Sunday with my wife. She has never seen them live before and I'm excited for her and for the future, this is the way it should be.