Man Like Me - Green Door Store, Brighton 04/10/12
Man Like Me are a rare breed; they're a band that have gotten to where they are now almost entirely off the back of previous performances. There are very few bands out there at the moment that are where they are now because of a stunning live set but it's that snowball effect that planted Man Like Me on a nationwide tour. There's the premise of a newly released sophomore (their debut all but forgotten) and a rereleased track, 'London Town VIP', with added production from Mr Mike Skinner esq. but every person in the room tonight in Brighton was there because of the much lauded live show.
They're not ones to disappoint either. While onstage the music is handled by a Macbook and sample pad at the fingers of Peter Duffy, the playing of the music is not the focal point. The focal point is the trio of Peter, Ade and Johnny and their indomitable presence, especially frontman Johnny.
Entering on Ade's shoulders, Johnny launches into 'Fruit', their peculiar ode to a healthy diet, complete with synchronised dancing before moving into 'Single Dad' and getting shirtless. As with all the songs, the hooks and catches and the dancing turn Green Door Store into a full on party, whether the audience likes it or not. Tracks like 'Single Dad' aren't exactly profound, despite their intentions, but it hardly matters live. Moving through 3 new tracks from their upcoming album the party atmosphere never relents, despite the relative obscurity of the tracks.
'Oh My Gosh' is where they kick it into the next gear with Johnny finding a ladder to climb on and deliver (arguably) their second biggest song to the crowd. Cue stupid dancing from the pissed up freshers at the front and a sea of iPhone screens hovering above the crowd. This was swiftly followed by 'Rude Boy', which was played on the mac while the trio got the crowd dancing.
Running through 'London Town VIP', 'Squeeze' and 'Carny' to finish to the excitement of the crowd cemented their place as one of the most entertaining groups playing at the moment. Every set they perform is them having fun and mucking about; it's easy to criticise them and claim they're almost kareoke, but that hardly matters - they're entertainers first and foremost.
Man Like Me are entertainers - without meaning to cheapen their sound, they come across as 'Lad Rap'. It's music to get stag nights going, to watch after a football match. Man Like Me play music to drink lager to, and they do it in a way where even the most prudish hipster can't help but join in.