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All Ages
Friday, July 28
Doors: 8pm Show: 9pm

MAN ON MAN, Provincetown (Polyvinyl, 2023)

You remember your pandemic project, don’t you? Maybe it was baking bread, cultivating a garden, or finally committing to Proust? But for Roddy Bottum and Joey Holman—back then, a new couple of longtime musicians, en route from New York City to California to care for Roddy’s ailing mother—it was writing songs, meant only to entertain themselves in those suddenly idle days. Joey, after all, had his guitar in the car; during the road trip west, they ordered a microphone, waiting for them in California where they’d live and work from a cozy beachside A-frame. They got to work but, really, to play, shaping a dynamic string of new-love songs about tender infatuation, the ache of all-consuming lust, and the excitement of a full future, together. “It’s so fun,” they cooed in content unison, “to be gay,” their own birds-and-bees ode to joy. Those songs stuck around, accreting not only into an album but into the band MAN ON MAN, lauded by Rolling Stone and loved for music videos that documented the real romance of two fully grown gay men. That pandemic project? Suddenly, a little hit.

MAN ON MAN’s triumphant and pop-powered return, Provincetown is the result of an accidental band moving with sudden intention and two once-new partners growing into a deeper relationship.  Written largely in that tip-of-the-Cape haven that gives the record its name, Provincetown cavorts even as it poses complicated questions about what it means to be queer, alive, and in love in the first quarter of this anxious American century. There are peppy hookup-app blues, queer history lessons set to contagious electroclash, unfettered celebrations of sex and summertime fun—glitter bombs all, set off to light up these often-dark times. “Windows down, let ’em see/We’ve got nothing to hide,” they sing during the enormous and insistent “I Feel Good,” boldly answering the title’s refrain with “I feel great/In these United States.” It is, like all of Provincetown, a massive rainbow flag in the ground—not a statement of existence so much as a proclamation of defiant thriving. Cum, if you will, and take it.

MAN ON MAN stepping fully into their shared lives and shared band, but also into their role as two singing seers of a current American concern—the ability to exist as yourself, to love who you love how you love them, with self-respect and dignity intact. And, of course, to have fun doing it.

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