Live Concert Photography: The Men with Bambara and Express at Union Pool 3/2/18
Although they have one of the more difficult to Google names I’ve come across in quite some time, the Brooklyn-based punk rock/post-hardcore/psych rock/post-punk act The Men, currently comprised of founding duo Mark Perro (vocals, guitar, keys) and Nick Chiericozzi (vocals, guitar), along with Rich Samis (drums) and Kevin Faulkner (bass, lap steel) formed back in 2008, and since their formation, they’ve released six, critically applauded albums — 2010’s Immaculada, 2011’s Leave Home, 2012’s Open Your Heart, 2013’s New Moon, 2014’s Tomorrow’s Hits and 2016’s Devil Music. And despite going through a few lineup changes during their ten year history, each successive album has found the band incorporating increasingly diverse elements and influences, further expanding upon their sound — 2012’s Open Your Heart, which may be among the band’s more accessible albums found the band incorporating surf rock, country music and pop structures; 2013’s New Moon found the band incorporating classic rock and country rock influences, and was described by one critic as “akin to Dinosaur, Jr. on a serious Tom Petty kick;” Tomorrow’s Hits found the band employing punk rock and classic rock influences; and Devil Music was considered a necessary reset by the members of the band.
The band’s recently released, seventh full-length album Drift marks several different but important occasions for the band — the album marks the band’s tenth year writing, recording and performing music and a proud return to their longtime label home Sacred Bones Records. Interestingly, Drift finds the New York-based quartet exploring the openness that its predecessor helped them find while continuing with an experimental bent — with most of the material not featuring a prominent appearance by an electric guitar; however, the album’s first single “Killed Someone” is a raw, rowdy, bruising mosh-pit worthy song, reminiscent of JOVM mainstays Ex-Cult and Nots.
I caught the Brooklyn-based indie rockers play the first of their two night run at Union Pool and the set while centered around Drift was a furious and fairly comprehensive set that featured a number of older material as well. Opening the night was the JOVM mainstays Bambara and experimental duo Express. The members of The Men will be embarking on a series of tour dates to support their new album and it includes a set at this year’s Levitation Festival in Austin. Check out the tour dates below — and then check out photos from the show after that.
Apr 21, 2018: Montreal, QC @ La Vitrola
Apr 27, 2018: Austin, TX @ Levitation Festival
Apr 28, 2018: Norman, OK @ Norman Music Festival
May 28, 2018: Barcelona, ES @ Primavera Festival
May 29, 2018: Madrid, ES @ El Sol
May 30, 2018: Lisbon, PT @ Music Box
May 31 2018: Porto, PT @ Maus Habitos
June 1, 2018: London, UK @ Oslo
Comprised of founding trio, twin brothers Reid and Blaze Bateh and their childhood friend William Brookshire, JOVM mainstays Bambara initially formed in Athens, GA and as you may recall, after they relocated to Brooklyn, where they recorded their full-length debut DREAMVIOLENCE, the trio exploded into the national scene, thanks in part to a punishing, shoegaze and noise rock-inspired sound that drew comparisons to A Place to Bury Strangers, Weekend, and others. However, with 2016’s sophomore effort, Swarm, the trio’s sound increasingly incorporated elements of stark, New York hardcore punk and thrash punk centered around Reid Bateh’s lyrics describing life in a stark, grimy, merciless city, full of neurotic, unhinged and deeply unstable characters trying to survive with whatever dignity, decency and shred of their own sanity they have remaining. And as a result, the album’s material possessed a tense, bristling fury. Slated for an April 6, 2018 release, the Brooklyn-based trio’s forthcoming, third, full-length Andy Chugg-produced Shadow on Everything is their first for Wharf Cat Records, and it reportedly represents a decisive step forward with the band moving from the early noise rock and post-punk that inspired their first two albums with the new album being a Western Gothic concept album. And while the musical center still remains the trio’s tight rhythm section featuring Blaze Bateh’s frenzied yet metronomic drumming and Brookshire’s sinuous bass lines, which manage to allow space for Reid Bateh’s howled vocals and squalling, feedback tinged guitar. But unlike their previously recorded output where Reid Bateh’s vocals were frequently buried in the mix, Shadow on Everything finds his vocals pulled towards the front, symbolically placing the damaged characters and seedy locales of his lyrics directly on the proverbial center stage. Additionally, the album finds the members of Bambara expanding upon their sound and instrumentation as it features violin and cornet arrangements and ambient noise loops distilled down from hours of manipulated vocal collages the band shifted through to find the perfect texture. Much like the headliners, Bambara’s set was a fairly comprehensive set featuring the murky and ominous material off their first two albums and their soon-to-be released third album played with the sweaty and furious intensity they’re known for.
Opening the night is the fairly mysterious noise and experimental rock act Express with a set of material centered around drone, feedback, tape machines and effects pedals.