REVIEW and PHOTOS: MAN THE MIGHTY AT HOUSE OF BLUES IN CHICAGO

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When you’re a band from the greater Chicagoland area, you have the opportunity to open for some pretty cool acts. Man the Mighty are used to playing the House of Blues and were given the opening slot on the Steel Panther/Wilson winter tour in Chicago.

While I’m not sure how many had heard of or had even seen MTM prior, the crowd appeared receptive to a band that was standing in the way of the headliner they came to see.  Having previously released a six-song EP back in June, their 25-minute set was full of mostly new songs save for the title track, Paper Crown. Their set started off with Trenches, a song with a steady intro that eventually kicked in with a hard driving pummeling pace. With Man Made Thunder, lead singer and guitarist Derek Smith’s melodic vocals were a calm pace for the unique guitar work by Tim Tournier.

Friend or Foe, another from the Paper Crown EP, had everything you’re looking for in a rock song. Great lyrics, great music and a sense that the song has the potential to continue to be great live. They continued with Ghosts from I Am Icarus, which to most MTM fans, is one of their most recognizable songs. MTM made use of every minute of their set for the music and as a result there was very little talking from Smith. But that was okay, as the music was saying plenty along with the powerhouse playing from bassist Tyler Nelson and drummer Matt Harmening all night.

They rounded out their set with two new and two old. From Paper Crown, The Coldest Day in August and Dead Man Walking. Both of which have the potential to be long standing staples in their set. They chose to end the night with Beneath the Skin and the title track from I Am Icarus which included a chorus full of empowerment, no matter your situation, as the words have a universal meaning of strength of and will to overcome.

“Here we stand, as strong as soldiers
You’ll never take me
You’ll never take us down
This world is all but hopeless
You’ll never break me
You’ll never break us down
We stand as strong as soldiers
You’ll never take me
You’ll never take us down
This world is all but hopeless
You’ll never break me
You’ll never break us down”

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