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All Night Long

South by Southwest Aftershots
Michael Bertin, March 22, 2012

The Men

Barbarella, March 16

About two songs into the Men's early Friday afternoon set on Barbarella's back patio, near the end of "Turn It Around," there were a few moments when charging the stage and leveling the bass player seemed like an absolutely reasonable course of action. He hadn't done anything provocative beyond play his instrument, but in so doing, he and his three bandmates, with their Sonic Youth meets Japandroids swirl of sonic mayhem, had triggered something so perfectly primal that random violence was suddenly an acceptable reaction. That was even after thinking through the consequences of a fractured skull and a J pickup lodged in what was left of my teeth. It would have been a piece of cake since the stage was only a foot off the ground, but it's not the most courteous thing to do to a band of Brooklynites in the middle of a rock maelstrom. Ultimately, they quickly crossed some threshold where brutish urges transformed from violence to pure visceral bliss.

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