February 4, 2023

The Men played St. Vitus

The Men, of New York City, played a record release show for their new album, New York City, at the almighty St. Vitus in Brooklyn, New York City.

A decade ago, The Men were the epitome of New York noise rock. Their streak from 2011-2013 saw four excellent records that surmised their ideals of taking hardcore and adding garage rock blues to create a sound that was extreme, yet approachable, and set them up to be the best rock and roll bar band you've never heard. Now, on their ninth record, The Men have once again offered up an in your face rock records that screams at deafening volumes and serves charged-up, blistering rock music full of high-flying solos and punishing drums. Blasting off with full force, the band dove straight into material from the new album and obliterated the city's best metal bar (and probably best overall venue) with deafening execution that saw them once again take the reigns as one of the heaviest, yet enthusiastic and approachable rock bands the city has to offer. "Hard Livin'" rocked with promise and jump started the night with their brazen riffs and diabolical vocals. Hardcore doesn't always translate to the most succinct stage sound, but the guys were locked-in on this occasion, primed and ready to go. "Peace of Mind" and "Crime," off 2016's Devil Music accentuated the heaviness and still found the group in tight form as full-speed solos were met with bolstered rhythms that hit with a purpose. Over the years, the band has woven their sound through a multitude of phases that incorporated fried-out country rock ballads, post-punk clamor, noise, and everything in between. From Crazy Horse to the Stooges, their range of influences has always centered around intensity, but their ability to change up their dialects has been what's made them such an institution of the Brooklyn scene for over a decade. Hardcore heartland rock at its finest, their shows have always been full of force and this one was no different. "God Bless the USA" was another epic jam that once again married their brutal yelps with killer guitar, all of which came to life in full technicolor wonder when blasted out on stage and actually gives the recorded versions a bit of a restrained vibe. Their triple vocal assault was their strongest showcase and became an absolutely astounding feature of their set, their rusted and blown-out voices coalescing together with guttural rage that heightened their intensity and affirmed their massive sonic takeover. Throwing in a saxophone for their final track was certainly a surprise, but still fit naturally into their wall of sound as the wailing reed instrument matched perfectly to their raspy wails and metallic guitar tones. Throughout their career, The Men have always capture a sort of ragged and rather exhausted rock and roll sound. Over ten years and ten albums into their legacy, they still sound as mighty as ever, still fulfilling their role as the band who doesn't know how to do anything, but sound as brutal and exciting all at once.

Set list:

01 "Hard Livin'"
02 "Peace of Mind"
03 "Crime"
04 "Eternal Recurrence"
05 "Echo"
06 "God Bless the USA"
07 ["nada" written on the set list]
08 ["I See the Light" written on the set list]
09 ["Trapped" written on the set list]
10 "Anyway I Find You"
11 ["Right About You" written on the set list]
12 ["Outsider" written on the set list]
13 "Round the Corner"
14 ["sax" written on the set list]
15 "Mercy" (Electric version)

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