1. I'd like to spend some time with The Men's record collection. The way the Brooklyn quintet fuses so many clear influences—noise, country-rock, punk, psych, even hardcore and kraut—I'm guessing these guys have an encyclopedic knowledge of underground music, and the vinyl stacks to match.
2. Though most every number The Men plays varies dramatically from the next, the band does have an overarching vibe, which might best be described as dangerous. Not in the sense that tonight's (occasional) mosh pits are all that rough, but in that you never really know what's around the next corner. Melodies turn rowdy, quiet moments explode and long, deep grooves emerge in the most unexpected places. All four of The Men's albums have value, but this is a band best experienced live.
3. This is one of the loudest shows I've been to in a while, but I don't mind. At least I can hear everything, unlike when I saw The Men at last fall's FYF Fest in LA, where the set's mix was atrocious (vocals, in particular, were nowhere to be found). This is a tough band to mix, with so many voices and instruments doing so many different things all at once, and tonight's sound is far from perfect, but I'm finding some decent spots as I move around the room in search of the right blend for my ears.
4. One cleverly conceived highlight: a segue from the furious title track to last year's Open Your Heart into "Without a Face"—a cut with the repeated lyrics "When your heart beats true" in its chorus—off this year's New Moon. The Men, now with twice as much "heart."
5. During one particularly intense jam near the end, singer/guitarist Nick Chiericozzi jumps up and smacks the top of the deer head mounted on the wall behind the stage. I've been to a ton of shows at the Bunkhouse and I've never seen that, but coming from a band as unpredictable as The Men, it seems only natural.