MEN heat up Soho

I have a new addiction, and that addiction is MEN. Not the kind with lots of body hair (although I’m rather partial to those as well) but the Brooklyn-based band fronted by former Le Tigre member JD Samson; last Tuesday saw them cross the pond and play a much-anticipated gig at White Heat in Soho.  I hadn’t heard much of their material before, and if I’m honest it was the Le Tigre link that brought me to their gig, but I happily lapped up their high-energy brand of synth-punk, and as a result have now had one of their catchier tracks stuck in my head for the last four days.

I seem to have been to a spate of gigs recently where bands look and sound a bit miserable. Not on Tuesday.  Samson danced her way around the stage in a oversized t-shirt decorated to resemble a house, accompanied by Michael O’Neill and Ginger Brooks Takahashi working morph suits (essentially leggings that reach your neck) and chain-mail helmets. This was to be no performance that relied on cheap gimmicks, however; the show was slick, the songs were slicker, and band members collective years working in various musical factions was evident. MEN went from disco ballads reminiscent of an upbeat version of The XX, (Simultaneously) to the hugely addictive poppy yet political Credit-Card Babie$, creating a polyphonic sound that was impressive considering the number of band members.  All this combined with Samson’s geeky but endearing popping and locking and added performers with cardboard cut-outs bouncing at the rear of the stage left the crowd wanting more, and MEN happily responded, bounding back on stage with a cover of My Family as an encore piece.

Rumours are circulating the Internet of a forthcoming album; I for one can’t wait, and it looks like MEN have already well and truly established a UK fan base, not least with the likes of The Raincoat’s Ana Da Silva who was spotted in the audience. Definitely a band to watch this year.

Also worth a mention were the support act- Trash Kit, who delivered short, sharp songs about coming out and life as modern London ladies.  Can hear a lot of Slits influence in their sound, but this is no bad thing and they deliver well. Definite crowd pleasers, and I’ll certainly be going to see them again soon.

MEN have a four track digital EP available on Amazon and iTunes.

Trash Kit play The Windmill, Brixton on 4th of February and the Good Ship, Kilburn on the 6th. Further dates being played, see MySpace for details.

(Photos by Sarah Barnes)

By: Thomas Leadbetter, 26.01.2010 | Comments (0)
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