Manic Productions has been bringing class-act bands through the many stages of the Hartford and New Haven area (and beyond) for the better part of the last few years, and on this fine end-of-summer evening last Tuesday, they paired together the beautiful and talented Xenia Rubinos with the quirky and loud boys from experimental band Man Man at The Space in Hamden, definitely the place to be that night. The downstairs part of venue was filling in with fans of all ages (and it is certainly worth mentioning that the upstairs level during show-hours is a pretty kick-ass second-hand store).
On stage, this young woman was under the spotlight as I got settled in; her voice, so unique but so simple. She very easily ranges from very high notes down to some low ones as well all while banging on her keys, and she performs only with a drummer who has as much character as she. Together they sound like they could be a side-project of The Dirty Projectors with just a tad bit of soul. Xenia Rubinos: remember that name. Her first album is called Magic Trix and she really blew the room away. Her vinyl was purchased immediately.
On this very day of the show, Man Man’s fifth studio release, On Oni Pond, dropped and I had been listening to it at work all day long in preparation for the show. It was a cause for a celebration and they came in ready to roll! The gents took stage all donning matching outfits: black tops and orange pants (or cut-off shorts, depending on which member you are looking at.) Of course, Honus (the band’s frontman) had packed with him a few costume changes. Just your standard dashiki type robes, old military jackets, gold glitter Tom’s and alien masks. NOTHING ABNORMAL or anything.
The gents backing Honus all play a wide array of instruments from your standard drums, keys and guitar to your not-so-often-seen french horn, xylophone and key-flute. Most instruments highlighted with flashy neon stickers and decor. As the show was underway, at times Honus would jump out at any one of us standing in front–pat us on the heads, lunge in for a hug or just tickle our sides. Weird, right?!
Uhm NO! More like AWESOME! He was letting us play back; he turned his cheek when the girl next to me pounded his keyboard at random mid-song. It was as if he welcomed it. We weren’t there to just watch the show–but to also be a part of the show. So the crowd, along with the band, were all raging with energy. I had had a suspicion on the way in, but it wasn’t confirmed until the middle of the first song that this band draws a very subtle mosh-crowd. I even left with bruises on my legs to prove it Despite the pain future-Dana would feel from the impact of being tossed into an amplifier, it was hella-fun being in the front for it all.
These gentlemen couldn’t be any weirder if they wanted to and this fan () loves them as a whole very dearly. If you didn’t leave the venue that night drenched in sweat from dancing your butt off, there was likely something wrong with you. Between the jaw-dropping opening act and their killer set, I’d say it was more than worth it to get home way past my bedtime.
Check out my photos below…