Man Man | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Last year's The Man in a Blue Turban With a Face (Ace Fu), the first full-length by this Philly band, set a new standard in a genre I can only call short-bus prog. The various members bring in what seems like way too many instruments--marimba, trumpet, sax, Fender Rhodes, and more--to run rampant over the very idea of New Weird America, but it works because it doesn't sound like they think they're weird. I could pile on hyperbolic descriptions of what their gravel-voiced, toy-instrumented, jury-rigged cabaret playdates sound like, but I couldn't describe the epiphany I had when I realized they can really play very well--their scruffy randomness is a choice instead of a product of their limitations. And unlike certain other "busy bands," they know when to step back and relax. A new album's due in February. Cheer-Accident and Princess open. Fri 11/25, 10 PM, Subterranean, 2011 W. North, 773-278-6600 or 800-594-8499, $10.

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