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Photograph by Stephen Stickler

Manmade God takes a classic rock stance.

Made Men

Manmade God headlined KSJO's 'Homegrown' show at the Edge

By Sarah Quelland

YOU'RE HOME. You're family to us," Manmade God singer Pann told folks Friday (Dec. 5) at the Edge in Palo Alto, where the band headlined KSJO and Sloppy Joe's Homegrown local-music showcase featuring A Band Called Pain, Automatic Animal, Primate and Ones and Zeros. "You guys are the first to know who we are, 'cause no one knows who we are," he continued, adding that the band's American Recordings debut is sitting on shelves collecting dust. It's a sad state of affairs for the members of this East Bay band. Its self-titled album deserves much better. It's one of the best records released this year that's yet to catch on and should be a big hit with fans of Audioslave. Still, the guys in the band didn't seem too broken up about it on Friday. In fact, with Stone Temple Pilots drummer Eric Kretz (who produced an early three-song demo for the band) filling in for the group's injured drummer, Steve Jacobs, Manmade God seemed to be having a great time playing to a hometown crowd.

There's a depth of thought, a poetry of sound and an inspiration of lyric to Manmade God's music. Touching on the legacies of Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath and the Doors, Manmade God delivers a style of hard rock with a classic appeal that's both masculine and meaningful. At Friday's show, the band played almost every song off its debut, plus a brand-new one titled "Awakening," which Pann said was about having respect and tolerance for people and their differences. Wryly, he added that it might be on the next album if the band gets that far.

There's an ease about Manmade God's performance, and though this lineup has existed for less than four years, the chemistry among the band members suggests that they've been playing together for decades. Each member has a distinctive and compelling personality that adds to the band's live dynamic. On Friday, with his dark hair pulled into two tight braids, Pann looked severe and intense, and at times he presided like a king over the crowd. Guitarist Craig Locicero was beaming as he sang along and swung his long hair around his head. Bassist James Walker spun around on his heels and smiled a lot. Meanwhile, guest drummer Kretz just sat back and focused on playing.

Following "Pulp," "Bad Creation" and "Precious," Pann introduced the radio single "Safe Passage," saying, "If you know the words, sing along. Start a mosh pit." Small in participants but wide and chaotic across the floor, the pit, once started, didn't stop until the show was over. At the end of the dusty Southern-rock "Lizard Bones," Pann said, "You know my favorite part of the song is I got a fuckin' mosh pit on 'Lizard Bones.'"

Halfway through the show, Pann stopped to introduce the band's real drummer, Jacobs, who stepped onstage with his arm in a sling. "I have a strange feeling this fucker's been faking it," Pann said, removing the sling and giving Jacobs the friendly order to "Get your fuckin' ass up there and play those fuckin' drums." Jacobs finished out the show playing "Meet My Maker," "The Path," "Revolution," "Awakening" and the last song, "Swamp Water."

Manmade God is scheduled to play the Blank Club in San Jose on Jan. 16. Visit www.manmadegod.com for updates.

HOT TOPIC: The Delivery Room, a new spoken-word open-mic series, kicks off this Sunday (Dec. 14) at MACLA's Castellano Playhouse with Berkeley High School/Youth Speaks poet Nayel Adorador-Knudsen and Oakland spoken-word group HeadRush. Doors open at 6:30pm. ... The Silicon Valley Houserockers, the JT Horns and Latin Funk Express participate in the Angels for Angelica benefit concert this Sunday (Dec. 14) at the Gaslighter Theater in Campbell. Proceeds go to a 7-year-old girl whose mother passed away. Tickets are $10, and the event starts early at 12:30pm. ... So Vile Productions presents the Silicon Valley Metal Fest III at the Edge in Palo Alto Saturday (Dec. 13) with Gorgasm, Pyaemia, Spawn of Possession, Severed Savior, Osmium, Artificium Sanguis, Counterbore, Lords of the Manor and Something Must Die. Tickets are $20, and the show starts early at 2pm. ... Cult hero to bikers and truckers, David Allan Coe plays a benefit concert for the Pittsburg Preschool and Community Council Thursday (Dec. 11) at the San Jose Civic Auditorium.

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From the December 11-17, 2003 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

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