Man On Man. Having worked with Faith No More, my all-time favourite band, for over 30 years (thank god for Botox), I’m a huge fan of keyboard legend Roddy Bottum. He became a great friend in the ’90s and remained so to this very day. In fact, one of my most Spinal Tap moments was with Roddy as we agreed to meet up after Download Festival for a gin in the jacuzzi, only to find out we were at different Hilton Hotels.
Man On Man
The Dome, London – 18 November 2023
Words: Sara Harding
Photography: Rafal Akierman
With FNM on quite a hiatus, all of the band’s offshoot projects have been a phenomenal success, including Bottum’s Man on Man.
A duo formed with his real-life partner, Joey Holman, Man On Man is a brilliant mash-up of indie, rock, pride and good-looking audiences (well, we should fit in there, then).
The band is currently on a highly anticipated British tour celebrating their sophomore album Provincetown, and we can’t wait to experience it live, loud and, of course, proud. The duo formed out of the pandemic and have spawned some absolutely incredible anthems for our generation.
And so, on a cold night at The Dome in London, this gig is like a huge bear hug of warmth and brilliance. As the duo walk on to rapturous applause and whoops, we know we were in for a treat. Fresh from touring with Dinosaur Jr, this was an opportunity to witness Man On Man up close and personal in this legendary venue. As always, the show starts with Joey delivering a heartfelt kiss to Roddy, and then it’s showtime.
Roddy and Joey play all their own instruments, singing in stunning dual harmonies, and the wall of sound they create is euphoric. Kudos to the sound engineer at this venue as no matter where you stood, it was an aural delight.
Take it From Me is a fuzzy alt-rock tune and is the first single from Man On Man’s second album, Provincetown. It’s a sheer joy to experience this song live, and the clever lyrics are a nod to the San Francisco ’80s disco era. Joey’s vocals and guitar chops are on point, with Roddy augmenting on the keyboards, backing Vox and often picking up the guitar too.
Up next is my favourite Man On Man song, Showgirls, again from the newly released second album Provincetown. It’s a dual-guitar doozy of a song. It’s about the ‘two of us’ and is so frikkin catchy by now the whole audience is bopping about to this wonderfully fuzzy slice of alt-pop rock.
This is my earworm song of the year. The album was on sale at the Merch desk and in vinyl. As Roddy said in our interview earlier that day, “Who wants a little CD when you can have a big picture of us on a record.” Naturally, he was laughing.
It’s back to their debut album for 1983, and again, it’s a beautifully crafted slice of indie-ness – as with all MOM songs – it’s beautiful but packs a power punch with their rock DNA.
Holman’s talent on the guitar is second to none, and again, with the duet of vocals, Man On Man makes more noise than a full-on five-member band as they take us through Stohner.
Their self-titled album was born out of the pandemic and celebrates Bottom and Holman’s love in an alt-Metal cuddle. All the songs that Roddy and Joey perform are biographic and relevant. They are catchy and definitely anthemic. Great titles, too, as we enjoy Piggy and Daddy.
Hush follows, a slow burner created with the legend that is J Mascis, the singer, guitarist and main songwriter for Dinosaur Jr. It’s very JR-esque but with a full Man On Man stamp. As this anthem builds to this wall of crescendo, it’s so powerful, and with the clever lighting and sound at the venue, it’s almost trance-like. The soaring guitars and keys give it an extra level.
And then it’s time for a song for us gals. A punchy power trip with lyrics such as “The best thing about bein’ a woman, is the prerogative to have a little fun,” and girlsssss, did we have a good time tonight?
Roddy shouts, “London, are we having a good time?” And it’s a solid “hell yes” from all of us. “We are Man On Man, and we are from New York.”
Haute Couture is another tour de force track from Provincetown. It’s hard, heavy, with almost one-word lines. Each word is powerful and evocative, making it a very impactful song. It is very apt that it ends with “goodbye”, as it’s the end of this mesmerising set from two very accomplished musicians and songwriters.
Earlier in the day, I asked Roddy and Joey what was next for Man On Man. “We have played America extensively and pretty much covered it,” Roddy said. “Next, we go to Europe for the rest of the tour, and then hopefully, we’ll be back in the UK next year.”
Plans for a new album seem to happen organically. “We constantly write material on the road,” Joey said, “and there will be more.”
Obviously, I can’t leave without asking the big question. Will we see Faith No More in the future? “We are always in touch,” Roddy says. “They are my friends. At the moment, there are no plans. But never say never.”
If you haven’t had the delight of experiencing Man On Man, buy the vinyl, watch the videos on Youtube, and, for god’s sake, get your butt to a gig soon. You will thank us at MetalTalk forever. It’s an overused word, but I have to say this gig was ‘Epic’ (excuse the Faith No More pun).