It’s a Monday night at Harvard and Stone and the show is running late, but what else is new? It’s L.A. and this is a music show, besides most of this crowd is here for Manhattan Murder Mystery, possibly the only band who can take on the last time slot and have a bigger turnout than the headliner.
The riff raff gathered near the stage hold cheap beers or a smuggled concoction poured into a bar glass. This is prep for the inevitable “social” Matthew Teardrop would be calling for later in the set. For now, the small crowd pressed together rabbles loudly over the sound check, hugging as though it’s been a dog’s age since they last saw each other when in reality it’d been two days since the last party and a week since the last show that gathered the community under one rotting roof. Feelings and time are often forgotten at Manhattan Murder Mystery shows, newcomers are welcomed by MMM veterans who have endured life with the band’s slow building career.
The house music lowers, Matthew Teardrop stands with his back to the audience and right index finger pointed in the air and the opening notes of “Smokey Mountain” are greeted with raised drinks and out of sync cheers. Swaying to the rhythm, gears shift as everyone yells with Teardrop “and tonight” and bodies begin knocking into each other. It isn’t slam-dancing, it isn’t hugging; it isn’t done in spite or love; it’s an understanding gesture. Those standing so close to the Harvard and Stone stage have been relating to Matthew Teardrop’s lyrics for amounts of time varying from weeks to years. With verses of self loathing in its most heartbreaking forms – remembering an old flame’s number (that long time MMM followers will spout out along with him) and choruses questioning whether he ever wanted to live at all, Matt Teardrop surfaces the thoughts everyone has, but never talks about.
A fan favorite, the soul crushing “Luxury Liner”, slows the room down as everyone stands solo with only elbows brushing as the notes from Mateo’s keyboard take us “down by the docks” while Matt Teardrop reminds each heart of a once good time now lost. The room turns somber during this song, occasionally someone will shed tears, but no judgments are ever thrown at an MMM show.
Before moving on, Teardrop raises his glass filled with the finest Canadian whiskey and says, “Who wants to take a social?”
Following the count off on Laura’s drumsticks, the bands goes into “Too Tough to Survive”, another (at the time) unreleased MMM song new to most Harvard and Stone patrons standing at the bar, but familiar to the people dancing with spring heels and no regard to those standing too close to the circus.
After years of shows, some more infamous than others, Manhattan Murder Mystery has long been a legendary whisper in L.A. A band everyone and no one has heard of until this year when they signed with Indiscretion Records who will be releasing their overdue album, Dumb.
To tide us over, a fan and friend of MMM, Mike James, directed the video for “Too Tough to Survive” featuring the faces fans and friends dancing and hanging out at the Church of Fun. The video is fun and oddly nostalgic; it also restores hope that despite Manhattan Murder Mystery breaking through to the masses, we can always count on Matthew Teardrop slowing down the band during their finale, “Cop Car”, to hand over his guitar to an unsuspecting friend, start the crowd chanting “I was in the back of a cop car” before disappearing outside for a cigarette while the audience dances their last bits of emotions out until the next MMM show.
(This was originally posted by Playtime Posse LA)