Man Forever at The Knitting Factory
I sure hope you like drums. Man Forever has been known to play in many configurations including one with drums plus two keyboards and one with about ten drummers plus one bassist. This time everyone played drums. Aside from that there were some wailing vocals with no lyrics which I could make out. Man Forever may not always be entirely about drums, but this time they sure were.
It is really an odd thing reviewing a band like this along with punk and gospel acts and the like. Those bands pretty much sound the same from show to show. Man Forever can change so much from show to show that it's hard to claim that they are a certain way. At their next show they may have five members, or two, or eleven as they have had in the past. So take what you are about to read with a grain of salt.
At this particular show they played exactly two songs in their half-hour set, or they only took one break between songs, one of those two things. The music wasn't quite catchy or danceable but also wasn't overwhelmingly complex (as it has been in the past). It was more of an evocative thing, like they were telling an epic story. Although they didn't mention an affiliation with any particular tradition I think they were influenced primarily by the drum circle style, with its vaguely Native American and psychedelic roots. The wailing vocals reminded me of a sort of call-and-response where the response never came. Perhaps that epic story is a search for someone who is lost?
Overall this sort of thing is interesting, but very much an art project. It's the sort of thing which I would go to see one time but not on a regular basis. Of course they change lineups so often that the experience may be very different next time... so who knows? I just figure that they're one of those band who I wouldn't mind seeing on a bill, but wouldn't go out of my way to see.