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Men, White Heat/Madame JoJo’s, 19.01.10

January 21, 2010

This is the part where I pretend that I knew so much about Men before I made the informed decision to go see them play at Madame Jojo’s weekly band bash White Heat. And at no point will I mention that I played Russian roulette with our gig review list.

Because even if I had known that this was a JD Samson (of the female electro-riot outfit Le Tigre) project, I’d still have had to do some homework to fake being knowledgeable. Not much has changed since I was at school; I still put off homework until it’s absolutely necessary. And sometimes I just like to be won over on the night.

Spending the first couple of songs dazzled by the costumes – shiny spandex jumpsuits for guitarists Ginger and Michael, a burning-down-the-house outfit complete with miniature house hat for JD – it wasn’t really until the Latinised intro beat of ‘Off Our Backs’ kicked off that my ears caught up with my eyes.

And of course, along with costumes you can’t go wrong with comedy signage in the background. With the help of two expert sign wavers a whole array of posters made their way into the set from two massive fists punching ‘Bump’ in the air, a long billboard declaring ‘Silence = Death’ and (my favourite) suggestive hand signs with ‘Fuck My Best/Fuck My Friends’ on each for ‘Credit Card Babie$’.

Notably, ‘Credit Card Babie$’ was also, without a doubt, the part in the set where I went from just enjoying the show to absolutely loving it. How can you resist a chorus of ‘I’m gonna fuck my friends, I’m gonna fuck my friends, I’m gonna fuck my friends and get a little tiny baby’?

Musically, Men are undoubtedly pushing the electro button on the airwaves but the added layers of power guitar riffs and hints of 80’s disco is the key to their kingdom. More than just comfortable, Samson fits perfectly in lead – you just can’t take your eyes of her – making everything seem effortlessly cool from dancing, to hand-miming to the music (I don’t think I’ve seen anyone make that look good since Prince’s ‘I Would Die 4 You’) and even the inevitable synth hunchback (Gold Panda take note…).

I’m not sure at what point it would be appropriate (if at all) to mention that Samson’s effeminate masculinity was confusing mon sexualité for a minute but now’s a better time than ever, I guess. At least I wasn’t the only one – there were definitely a few girls with a few crushes in the crowd. Androgyny is definitely the new sexy.

[Originally reviewed for Bearded]

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