Photos by Erin Dage
Brooklyn’s the Men have been active since 2008, and in those six years have consistently produced five studio albums that range from abrasive noise rock to more melodic, country-inspired tunes. The maturity of the group, and the obvious growth they’ve experience musically, is most apparent in their 2014 release of Tomorrows Hits; A far cry from anything they’ve released thus far, the work highlights the boys true nature of harmonizing, blues guitar, and harmonica.
Their performance at the Rickshaw Stop exemplified these new maturities, as the Men performed a lengthy set that included plenty of eight minute jams and an encore of three songs, both old and new. The duration of the set remained relaxed, with one particularly enthusiastic patron at the front waving his fist and pushing himself forward to the front. This mellowed out atmosphere quickly dissolved once the Men started playing what is perhaps their most beloved single from Tomorrows Hits, “Dark Waltz.” The song sent the crowd into a flurry and finally the dancing began.
>Fittingly enough, the Men brought out a lot of, well, men to the show. The show’s pit, consisting if not entirely of men, featured dudes in flannel shirts and jean jackets pushing one another in the most brotherly, almost frat-esque fashion. Not necessarily a bad thing, but something has to be said about a band called the Men who knows how to make men really move.
The house was moderately packed when openers CCR Headcleaner took the stage; although, notably, not packed enough to fill up the awkward half moon of space near the front of the stage.
CCR Headcleaner made note of this, and (in good humor) sarcastically thanked the crowd for up keeping this important show etiquette of not getting too close to the stage. Their set itself was what you can always expect from CCR Headcleaner; loud, abrasive, angry, and straight up energizing. Their most impressive performance of the night came in the form of “Steal the Light,” a track off their 2013 Lace the Earth With Arms Wide Open.
Adorned in mangled fur coats, gold chains, cut off shirts, CCR Headcleaner made for an evocative performance sans parking meter. There’s something intrinsically destructive and hedonistic about watching CCR Headcleaner. At one point someone threw their bra on stage, hitting the guitarist and in typical rockstar fashion, the bassist strutted off the stage midway through their last song.
Next came Olympia, Washington’s Gun Outfit whose performance proved to be a stark contrast in comparison to CCR Headcleaner; their sound, more delicate and structured is a whimsical dreamscape with songs such as “Flyin’ Low, Maria.” Guitarist/vocalist Dylan Sharp’s command of his instrument is hypnotizing, as is guitarist and second vocalist Carrie Keith. Keith’s vocals in particular are what really stand out in the band. Raspy, melancholic, and honest, they are the kind of vocals that make you contemplate religion, getting drunk off whisky and smoking cigarettes.