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Wednesday, December 13

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Transmission
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Review Thu Sep 24 2015

Man Man Got Weird with Lincoln Hall

I was having a conversation recently about lead singers who play unique instruments where the bass and the drums were cited as the most unusual instrument we'd ever seen a lead singer play. Lead singer Shilpa Ray who fronts the band of the same name blew that out of the water yesterday when she showed up on Lincoln Hall's stage pumping a harmonium.

Ray, who previously fronted the rock outfit Shilpa Ray and Her Happy Hookers, brought her huge, haunting, scorching vocals to front stage as she opened for Man Man. It was a good pairing -- not only are the vocal stylings of the two groups somewhat similar, but Ray's style of singing gave her the stage presence necessary to be memorable -- not an easy task when you're followed by the onstage antics of Honus Honus.

Ray was backed by an unusual range of instruments as well, not only her hand pumped harmonium, but her current lineup also includes Jon "Catfish" DeLorme on the pedal steel guitar, giving the songs a somewhat eerie presence. Ray's lyrics fit well with the timbre of the background music -- airing her 13 year old self's distress at not being allowed to go to space camp on "Johnny Thunders Fantasy Space Camp" and singing "Let's hang ourselves from the traffic lights" on "Shilpa Ray on Broadway" and introducing one of her songs by telling the crowd, "This is a song about being bitter." Ray's worth a listen for anybody in need of catharsis, anybody who enjoys unique instruments, anybody who enjoys a powerful and commanding female lead singer, and anybody who likes punk, blues, or just good music in general.

Next up, Man Man. Everyone was clearly excited -- especially the young gentleman who had busted out his shark hoodie especially for the occasion and managed to work his way to the front of the stage. Honus Honus, Pow Pow and a third gentleman on guitar/trumpet took to the stage to the chorus of Positive K's "I Got a Man" altered to say "What's your Man Man got to do with me?"

All wearing white pants and black shirts, a departure from the last time I saw them when they were rocking the all white garb, the trio got things started with "Easy Eats or Dirty Doctor Galapagos" off of 2008's Rabbit Habits. The group sampled from their albums quite extensively, playing "Piranhas Club" from 2011's Life Fantastic and of course playing some tunes from their most recent 2013 On Oni Pond including crowd favorites "Loot My Body" and "Head On".

The crowd knew exactly what to expect from the experimental rockers, and they got the onstage antics they were expecting. Honus Honus hammed it up for the adoring crowd -- introducing two costume changes into the set (the first into a luscious white fur and the second into a bizarre black vest that had printed on the back the story of a baby being eaten by an alligator), giving out noogies to at least two audience members (including our intrepid sharkman), and at one point grabbing a patron's ipad and giving it a nice lick. How much do you think an ipad with Honus Honus' saliva would go for? I know I'd at least give it a serious think before moving onto the next Ebay item.

 
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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »

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Transmission is the music section of Gapers Block. It aims to highlight Chicago music in its many varied forms, as well as cover touring acts performing in the city. More...
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