The first sweatbox show of the summer landed with local heroes The Men, Nude Beach and The Marsh Hens joined by Olympia Washington's Milk Music, who were making their New York debut to a cluster of violent, jubilant punks, including members of Marvin Berry and the New Sound, Pregnant, and Teardrops in the audience, yelling at the top of their lungs and throwing PBR at the bands, and each other. It was a hundred hoarse throats singing at the top of their lungs, nailing each word.
Marsh Hens were up first bringing their herky-jerky weirdo take on
punk playing songs from their recently released 7″ and debuting new
songs that continued the men on the verge of a breakdown sound.
Nude Beach played probably the best set I've seen from them as their
final song was a ten-minute long take on bar song classics sliding
between “Louie, Louie” and “Wild Thing” that seemed designed to
antagonize the audience rather than be a faithful take on the iconic
drunken sing-a-longs. The audience capitulated, throwing beer can
after beer can after beer can, starting what would be a trend that
would continue through the rest of the night.
Milk Music was having equipment trouble and were unfortunately not as
good as I had hoped they'd be. “Beyond Living” is an amazing EP which
displays its influences proudly, acting as both a history lesson and
an encapsulation while not seeking solely to emulate the songs or
bands of their youth. Live they were problematic. There was a bit of
sloppiness which could be the heat, the drink or the equipment, but
there were long periods of time where nothing was happening on stage
other than an attempt to hold a tone for as long as possible. These
period of inactivity annoyed the audience, but when Milk Music would
launch into “Beyond Living” or “Be Here Now” the audience would surge
to the front, singing along so loud that at times it threatened to
drown out the music being played.
The Men's new record is a triumph, building on and surpassing
Immaculada in every conceivable way. Leave Home is probably the best
album I've heard this year, a dense, thick record that effortlessly
slides between genres while never sounding anything other than a whole
work. Being released by one of the best current record labels in New
York City has given The Men wider exposure and helped pack Death By
Spending a lot of time playing in pure darkness, The Men embraced
their psychedelic roots projecting throbbing pulsing animations from
the back of the room playing in near darkness for most of their set.
That lack of light made the floor fairly perilous as conscientious yet
rowdy kids tried to kill each other in the nicest way possible, rarely
distinguishing between softer slower songs and songs designed to tun
bassist Chris Hansell's throat and the audience into a bloody wreck.
Though they apologized for being drunk, The Men still performed a damn
good set, playing tracks from Leave Home and Immaculada, both the
thrashing “Bataille” and psyche punk “Lazarus” getting the same amount
of love and attention.
Every time The Men play it's worth attending, and while this may not
have been the best I've seen them, they were still at the absolute top
of their form. I look forward to seeing them again at The Northside
Festival this weekend. The badge holders have no idea what they're in