It’s time, it’s fucking time. I’ve been holding back on this one for too long. They are the band that are exciting me most right now in London. Impossible to label. I’d gladly use any of the following words to describe them - experimental, DIY, raw, carnivorous, untempered, eccentric, fiery, unhinged, and noisy. They are Man-flu. A bunch of misfits with members from countries as far reaching as Kazakhstan, France, Japan, England and America.
Man-flu are Aza (vocals), Dudu (bass), Pip (guitar), Sakiko (keys) and Will (drums), and they play through a hybrid of styles ranging from goth, post punk, no wave, surf and prog-rock. There is no clean description. Nothing is ever easy with Man-flu. And that’s the point. There is a real layering in their sound, as they push at the boundaries and bring the unexpected together. No waiting. They are making their own space. At the nucleus of the band sits drummer Will who’s unrelenting beats drive their whole sound forward, with keyboardist Sakiko and bassist Dudu adding further solidity and kick, giving guitarist Pip and singer Aza the necessary room to express themsleves and at times cut loose from formal song structure.
On stage, the band are fearsome - bursting with energy and immediacy - with performance at the heart of everything they do. A real chemistry between singer and guitarist adding another dimension. Aza is like some kind of caged animal, just released, almost spitting with attitude, her presence is both sexually charged and intimidating. Whilst Pip often appears colder, more thoughtful and intense, almost brooding, yet very much on the edge throughout. Both equally fascinating as they duel and jostle for dominance. It’s all a game though, or is it? I can never really tell. [Check out their 10 minute epic Tek below - shot by TATW in February]
Man-flu bring together that old equation of Sex, Death and Rock n’ Roll. And so they come to remind me most of The Velvet Underground. Musically, they’re a whole other band, but in spirit there’s something here. They represent that same fascination people have with the bizarre, the decadent, the degraded, the depraved and the dangerous. They are counter-culture. And I fucking love them for it.
Catch them at the Bull & Gate in Kentish Town this Friday (16th) at 9pm. I’ll be there, right at the front.