Man Man,The Boom Boom Box, Giggle Party

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages, if I may direct your attention to the center of the Big Top stage: Man Man's musical three-ring circus is sure to amaze and amuse us all, as the band renders its sad songs through maniacal performance.

Critics site an impressive group of off-kilter musicians like Waits, Zappa and Beefhart when describing Man Man, but such comparisons are useful only to the extent that Man Man sets an expectation for the exuberantly unusual. Think of a bone-playing Looney Tunes animal orchestra and you're getting closer to what the dressed-in-white-and-war-paint band looks and sounds like. All five superb musicians belt great songs of love and loss on everything from traditional rock band instruments to tin cans, marimbas and toys (seemingly all at once) in a controlled chaos that's a true joy to watch. No, you probably aren't going to dance. But you will smile.

Two Dallas bands open the bill: The Boom Boom Box features former members of Ghostcar, Pleasant Grove, Falkon, Pinkston and Baboon; Giggle Party is a somewhat new quartet inspired by DIY funsters like Matt and Kim.

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Doug Davis