SXSW: Live From Austin

Man Man: SXSW 2011

There's something downright unhinged about Man Man's act: Led by hyperactive live wire Honus Honus, the Philadelphia band careens and stomps through songs that conjure the addled celebration of an imaginary Skid Row circus. As such, the group gets compared to the likes of Tom Waits and Frank Zappa, who similarly put a ton of artistry and care into the bizarre, run-down and decadent.

On stage at Auditorium Shores in Austin, Texas during SXSW's fourth day of concerts, Man Man never stayed in one place long: Its set was a dizzying whirlwind of barrelhouse piano, alternately yelped and yowled vocals, and a drummer positioned at the front of the stage, where he belonged. Fans don't often shout for encores from bands playing in the late afternoon on SXSW's outdoor stages, but they can be forgiven their enthusiasm here: When Man Man stopped playing, the silence seemed almost surreal.

Band Personnel: Honus Honus - Vocals, Keyboards; Pow Pow; Critter Crat; Chang Wang (note: Band members trade off instruments that include a clavinet, Moog Little Phatty, sousaphone, saxophone, trumpet, French horn, flute, bass clarinet, drum set, euphonium, Fender Jazz bass, Danelectro baritone guitar, xylophone, marimba and various percussive instruments including pots and pans, toy noise makers, Chinese funeral horns, spoons, smashing plates and fireworks.)

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