Honus Honus (aka, Ryan Kattner), the lead singer of Man Man, wasn’t much for conversing with the audience. There were no remarks of “Yeah, Cleveland!” or “How we all doing tonight?” or even a thank you.
No, there were no breaks between songs—just Man Man, Man Man’s music and the clothes!
First, the band members strode onto the stage, looking oddly comfortable in their onesie skeleton suits. They took their places, started playing and didn’t really stop.
Meanwhile, Honus worked his way through what was basically a mini thrift shop.
An alien mask, with a microphone taped inside; a military jacket with tassels swinging around the shoulders; an audience member’s towering furry hat; a women’s white fur coat; a different audience member’s thick-rimmed spectacles; a bedazzled cloak with a face cover.
He was whoever he wanted to be on the Grog Shop’s stage, at Man Man’s explosive show on Jan. 23.
The second opener, Xenia Rubinos, didn’t seem to really care about the status quo either during her experimental set. With her fingers doodling in the air, Rubinos squawked dolphin noises over the recorded sounds of creaking doors and synth rhythms.
But in a weird way, it was musical. When she broke away from yelping, her soulful voice warbled over the eclectic background—think: Ingrid Michaelson, meets noise, meets garage.
In contrast, Stems, the opener before Xenia Rubinos, was a more “classic rock” kind of show. Beards, hats and guitars.
…Then again, beards, hats and guitars were present for Man Man too; just not as conventionally.
When Man Man prepared, the audience was just happy to see them after a lengthy pause, but brimming excitement bubbled over as the band pushed into their second and third songs.
The mosh pit really intensified during “Pink Wonton.” A Grog Shop employee split through the crowd and stood calmly at the front, facing the audience like a statue. One girl slammed into him. He gently pushed her back into the mayhem. As beer and sweat smeared onto him, he looked unenthused about the whole darn thing.
But, he was probably one of the only people there not smiling.
The crowd pulsed to different hits, and the large vent fan on the ceiling became everyone’s new best friend.
Maybe it was a little too big of an audience for the Grog Shop to handle, but the show created a real connection between the music and the fans.
Towards the end of the night, Honus reached out to the audience with both his arms, waving around as though he was possessed.
Like instinct, the crowd stretched their arms right back to him, before he launched into the top hit, and crowd favorite, of Man Man: “Hold on to Your Heart.”
Crooning to a dazzled audience, Honus’ lyrics couldn’t have been more appropriate. “Hold on to your heart, never let nobody drag it under.”
These words rang true in the dark room packed with people, all of whom were there to see the men in the skeleton onesies.