On the week of August 18, the Cellar Door saw two back-to-back shows that were both enjoyable and quite memorable. Playing the night after Built To Spill, Friday August 22 saw the epic return of Philadelphia-based MAN MAN. Returning back from the early days of Sound N Vision, MAN MAN brought back the same wild-style performance that was last seen at the small pizza joint that is Howie & Son’s in 2005.

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Opening the night was Landlady hailing from Brooklyn, NY. The band’s sound and lineup had both a unique and eccentric quality. For one, the band had a pleasant sound to it, with driving melodies that was accompanied by drums, bass, guitar, keyboard and the occasional tambourine. As for the lineup, it’s hard to remember the last band you saw that had not only one drummer, but TWO drummers.

The main drummer of the band (the one using the bass drum) was not unfamiliar to the Cellar Door. Ian Chang has also toured as a drummer for Brooklyn’s Son Lux, with an appearance at the venue earlier this year.

Landlady was wild and eccentric, like a much wilder Vampire Weekend, with influences from The Pixies, The Flaming Lips and Sly and the Family Stone. They were gentlemen with a punk and beatnik-type of attitude, even to their songwriting. It was fun, it was weird, and it was exactly what the crowd was looking for.

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At about 10:30 shortly after Landlady’s set, MAN MAN took the stage with a heavily packed crowd. It’s not often when you see a band make a grand entrance at the Cellar Door, but in MAN MAN’s case, this one took the gold. After the 4-piece group arranged their bizarre stage set up (the drummer and keyboardist facing each other rather towards the crowd), the band’s front man, Ryan Kattner, (stage name, “Honus Honus’) came on to the stage as a multi-colored, glittering cloaked figure.

The band blasted off into their first song, “End Boss,” from their most recent album On Oni Pond. The song was exhilarating for the crowd, many of them who had been following the band since their last performance in Visalia. The energetic group of musicians and vocalists presented a myriad of sounds and beats; colors and textures, with instruments that ranged from drums, guitars, trumpets, synthesizer, keyboard, a French horn, xylophone, a Fender bass, and a flute, just to name a small few. It was psychedelic rock n’ roll mixed with a heavy dose of vaudeville.

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The night was jam packed with a 20-song set list that spanned across all of their albums, including an encore, dispersed with several costume changes from Honus Honus. He kept his cultish crowd on their feet throughout the entire show, both with their songs and his stage presence.

Watching MAN MAN on stage was exhilarating and unpredictable. They are fearless in their swagger and raw in their sound. With a cult following in Visalia, the band has the city under its thumb, and they’re okay with that.