Inexplicably, MEN opened their set on March 22 at the Biltmore Cabaret in Vancouver by wearing three bike helmets attached to poles. Which were attached to the other helmets.
They did this triangularium thing for about three-quarters of a song then had three volunteers help them remove the ‘mets at the same time. We didn’t quite follow the, uh, short-lived point, but hey ho! Who needs points? It’s ART! And SMART MUSIC! Smart, art music. And MEN – JD Samson from Le Tigre (yeah, still gonna mention Le Tigre years later), Tami Hart and the fab Michael O’Neil – ALSO make music that makes you want to wiggle. They offer food that feeds your brain, and makes your brain tell your ass to dance.
The three-piece’s latest album Talk About Body is wiser, better, and nu disco. And still edgy nu-disco. “Simultaneously” is wistful and angsty, there’s songs about the economy, “borrowing someone’s cock” and making/adopting babies in non-hetero relationships (“Credit Card Babie$”), queer culture and feminism (Emily Roysdon’s lyrics for “Who Am I To Feel So Free” are brilliant, as is the video), plus “stuff” on the state of the nation. Sound like a bummer? Hells no. Live, MEN are FUN. Is prolly why Beth Ditto’s Gossip brought them out on their last big North Am tour. Fun understands fun.
Tonight? Oldies “Make It Reverse” and “Off Our Backs” were -as they always have been – earworm foot-movers. And their “return to their roots” (quoth Samson) with the finisher of Bikini Kill’s “Double Dare Ya”? Très punk. Former MENster Kathleen Hanna woulda been proud.
“I was just telling someone today that baby dykes have so much more style nowadays,” said JD Samson when a young girl threw her scarf on stage. “They used to throw underwear. Now it’s scarves like this. I suppose it makes me look more Aerosmith,” JD continued, wrapping the scarf around a mic. ” The drunk baby dyke who threw it, squealed. Unsure if she even knew who Aerosmith are, but hey, who gives a toss? Who am I to knock her time to feel so free.
Anyway, I love MEN. I love women too. I love clever fun and music that combines it. I’m just fulla love.
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