Philadelphia-based group Man Man has played Los Angeles enough to develop a taste for horchata, but not not so frequently that they can claim to have ordered 2 a.m. tacos from a truck parked off of Sunset Blvd. And so the band was welcomed back with a fiesta held in a rope-guarded corner of the Echoplex, where Man Man was about to headline.
It was a simple, vegetarian-friendly spread put together in the venue’s kitchen — party-sized burritos, quesadillas, nachos, chips and salsa — the sort of grub that works best between pints of beer. Needless to say, the food went fast, with the first plate reduced to a mess of stray olives and strands of grated cheese in less than ten minutes.
Within earshot of the party, there was a concert and when the folk singer called Whiskey and Wine yelled at someone to stop playing the melodica, “Stop trying to ruin my show,” there was a momentary pause in the munching.
The conflict between the bearded folk singer in the Fidel Castro hat and an ordinary looking red-headed guy escalated. Profanities were exchanged and the musician screamed, “Anti Records is here! I’m trying to get signed.”
A guitar was thrown. Both people exited the stage with the singer offering his final words, “Check me out on Facebook.”
The crowd’s silence was interrupted by the occasional whisper, was this indie rock comedy or an actual meltdown? Should we laugh or stay silent out of sympathy? For the record, I can’t find Whiskey and Wine on Facebook, but comedian Jonah Ray, listed as an opening act for the show, does have a penchant for acoustic guitars and pranks.
As the night progressed, more trays of burritos and chips appeared slowly and disappeared quickly, a trail of cheese grease making its way across the floor. And with each round of food, the night grew a little goofier. The members of Man Man — four scruffy young men who go by the names of Honus Honus, Critter Crat, Pow Pow and Chang Wang — talked about drenching white-haired pets in steak juice and spaghetti sauce, before revealing their dream of playing in La Brea Tar Pits.
“I mean in the tar pits,” said Honus, who plays keyboards.
Man Man on stage.
And then there was Jonah Ray, who donned a hoodie and shuttered sunglasses to play the greatest ironic hits of the hipster generation off his laptop. He dedicated Warrant’s “Cherry Pie” to Sarah Palin, asked the crowd to chant for Steve Aoki and made references to the Adbuster article on hipsters that everyone in this club seemed to have read. The mega-mix was sandwiched in between a half-hour of Gary Glitter’s “Rock and Roll Part 2.” When Man Man hit the stage, the band finished glam rock jam live before heading into a set of originals. The beats were choppy, the melodies fractured and the crowd loved it. The population on the dance floor swelled, leaving the fiesta in the corner of the club, empty save for a few trays bearing the remnants of Mexican food.
Words and Photos by Liz Ohanesian