7th St Entry
June 12, 2013
On just the third night of their North American tour, Brooklyn-based band The Men landed in Minneapolis for a packed-in show at the world famous 7th St Entry. Despite being an 18+ event, the 30 to 40-something crowd was out in full force; a welcomed contingent that’s become increasingly more prevalent at shows around the Twin Cities in the last 10 years or so. In the moments before the The Men were to play, you could feel an anticipatory energy make its way around the venue. The smallish room, which was already nearing capacity, seemed to become even stuffier as empty glasses began piling up on any available flat space and drained tallboys dropped to floor at an alarming, yet smile-inducing rate.
Without so much as a polite nod, The Men took to the stage and went right into a newer, as of yet unrecorded song, “Dark Waltz.” The crowd wasted no time getting into the act, as bobbing heads and gyrating bodies took over the floor area in front of the stage. The band moved quickly into an especially raucous version of “The Brass.” It was one of what would be a large number of songs from their new album, New Moon.
Despite the tight confines of the Entry stage, the five-piece found plenty of room to thrash about, which seemed even more impressive considering the presence of a Fender Rhodes piano. It appeared as though Ben Greenberg has joined Nick Chiericozzin on guitar duties for this tour, while Kevin Falkner picked up the bass, and Marc Perro’s concentration is primarily the keys, save an acoustic guitar or harmonica moment here ‘n’ there. (The Men rotate instruments at a rate that makes it particularly difficult to follow along, so forgive me if I reported some of this in error.)
At the end of “Without a Face”, Chiericozzi took a pull off of a bottle of Jose’ Cuervo tequila and comically stated, “It’s the third night of tour, which means my guitar is finally staying in tune.” He then paused, as if to contemplate his next thought before continuing, “We ran out of weed this morning…and I smell weed like, right here…so, like….I will be here, ya know…hint, hint.” They then slide gently into the smooth tones of “The Seeds.”
The room really started to heat up by the time the band hit the middle of their set, which included “Candy” from last year’s breakout album Open Your Heart, and rollicking versions of “I Saw Her Face”, “Electric” and “Freaky.” Chiericozzi and Greenberg traded soaring guitar solos in impressive fashion, as Faulkner and drummer Rich Sammis keep things moving along at punk rock clips. When the band concluded their set with “Open Your Heart”, faces were sweaty, clothing had been removed, and half-drank beers had been flung; leaving the floor a slippery mess, the likes of which were complicated for the buzzed-up masses to navigate.
At the request of the boisterous audience, The Men returned to the stage once again for an encore. Striking dangerously close, but never veering off completely into jam band territory, they played a lengthy medley comprised of “Supermoon” from New Moon and “Night Landing” from 2011’s Leave Home.
Without a Face
I Saw Her Face
Open Your Heart
“The Men are like a punk band that decided to be the Allman Brothers…in a good way…if that’s possible.”
“The Men are like a punk band that wanted to put out a Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young record on SST.”
“I can’t see the drummer, but I know he’s not wearing a shirt.”
Personal disclosure: I am not confident that the setlist is 100% correct, as I’m not 100% familiar with The Men. On top of that, my notes, which were written in complete darkness, became nearly unreadable once someone spilled beer all over them. That someone may or may have not been me.