Doesn’t anybody ever wonder where all the umph went in indie rock? Sure, we get the occasional outlier like Sleigh Bells or Fucked Up that isn’t afraid to shred its way to your heart. But even then, where did all the reckless abandonment of production and disregard for “the system” go? If you have asked yourself any of these questions, please listen to The Men. They are bringing it all back. With 2011’s Leave Home, The Men took a crash course through the last four decades of rock and roll, just to blend it, swallow it, then spit it out again. The record was abrasive and shocking, but more that anything else, really, really fun. With new album Open Your Heart, the band cools their engines just a smidgen to make room for more developed songwriting and even catchier hooks. They feel more confident to take on the world, rather than to just play in their basement and piss off the neighbors.
The Men are why ear plugs were created. While setting up, they looked innocuous enough; four normal looking guys, a little long hair, but nothing indicative of the relentless maelstrom of shredding guitar rock they were about to unleash on an unsuspecting Mellow Johnny’s crowd. After a furious first song, they took their foot off the gas for a “slower” number whose structural elements could actually be discerned, as opposed the rest of their set, which consisted of a continuous effusion heavy thrashing that rocked about as massively as is humanly possible. Exactly how hard were The Men rocking? As they were finishing their set, the bassist’s head started bleeding for reasons unknown. A true showman, he smeared the blood all over his face, and even wiped a little of what was left on the guitarist, for good measure.