November 28, 2015 saw the return of part-man, part-wolf rockers Man With A Mission to the UK shores, for their first show in London, at the O2 Brooklyn Bowl. Supporting Zebrahead’s Walk the Plank 2015 tour, alongside Patent Pending, the show proved to be an out of control, punk rock extravaganza. Taking to the stage first, Man With A Mission blasted through seven tracks consisting of old favourites from their compilation album Beef Chicken Pork, and latest EP Out of Control. Those coming for Patent Pending couldn’t quite believe their eyes as the five-piece took up their positions, each donning their unique wolf masks.

The opening riff of Distance started up, and the party was started. As vocalist Jean-Ken Johnny opened the song up, rapper Tokyo Tanaka hyped the crowd up. Leading the charge on, the band went straight into fan favourite Database, using the rap lyrics from the Out of Control EP. The crowd was well and truly pumped.In between songs, Jean-Ken Johnny would check in on the crowd, getting a roar in response. Bassist Kamikazi Boy frequently finished songs by raising his bass, and chomping down on the fret board. DJ Santa Monica would often leave his decks to dance around in the middle of the stage a real party animal. Or at least half of one!

At the mid point, Jean-Ken Johnny announced they would perform a cover song and then started the opening riff to Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit. The band dived into a unique version of the punk classic, incorporating rap vocals from Jean-Ken Johnny and Tokyo Tanaka, overlaying the traditional verse sung by Kamikazi Boy.

Following up, the band launched into FLY AGAIN, with Tokyo Tanaka getting the crowd’s arms up and swaying. As the song entered the bridge, the lights dimmed, the vocals slowed and both Kamikazi Boy and Santa Monica lit their eyes up. The song kicked back in to the chorus, the crowd went into overdrive, and the wolf-men danced around the stage rocking out, and bathing in the electric atmosphere.

As the set neared its close, Jean-Ken Johnny introduced two special guests to the stage – Zebrahead’s Ali Tabatabaee and Matty Lewis and together they performed Out of Control. The song did exactly what it said on the tin, and the crowd went nuts. The atmosphere was electric, and anyone who had been stumped by the appearance of genius biologist Dr. Jimi’s mad-science-experiment-turned-band* was on their feet with the rest of us.

The band closed up with Get Off of My Way, with the crowd howling along with the crazy chorus. As the song ended, the band waved their good byes and departed the stage with drummer Spear Ribs quickly running back out to silently get the band to let out one last roar on the count of three.

Man With A Mission well and truly killed it with their show, and as both Patent Pending’s Joe Ragosta and Ali Tabatabaee later pointed out it was huge privilege to see them in such an intimate setting, given how they’d just come off a stadium tour in Japan. They weren’t quite done, as later in the night, Zebrahead called Jean-Ken Johnny back to the stage to perform their song Devil on my Shoulder, from their own compilation album The Early Years. Free of his guitar, he got to dance and jump around the stage, once more getting the crowd on their feet and some pretty impressive shape-cutting as they rocked along.

For a band with so little exposure in the UK, outside of their collaboration EP Out of Control, Man With A Mission brought their A game, and made a name for themselves amongst the English punk rock crowd. Given their performance at Download Festival earlier in the year, hopefully they’ll be back in the UK once again in the not too distant future!

Kamikazi Boy takes to the stage.

Kamikazi Boy takes to the stage.

Tokyo Tanaka on rap duty

Tokyo Tanaka on rap duty

Kamikazi Boy prior to his fretboard chomping

Kamikazi Boy prior to his fretboard chomping

The band rocking out, as DJ Santa Monica starts dancing

The band rocking out, as DJ Santa Monica starts dancing

Kamikazi Boy with his eyes alight during FLY AGAIN

Kamikazi Boy with his eyes alight during FLY AGAIN

Matty Lewis of Zebrahead performing with the band

Matty Lewis of Zebrahead performing with the band

A double rap combo from Tokyo Tanaka and Zebrahead's Ali Tabatabaee

A double rap combo from Tokyo Tanaka and Zebrahead’s Ali Tabatabaee

Tokyo Tanaka waiting to pounce with rap vocals

Tokyo Tanaka waiting to pounce with rap vocals

Jean-Ken Johnny performing alongside Zebrahead

Jean-Ken Johnny performing alongside Zebrahead

Setlist:

  1. Distance
  2. Database
  3. Take What U want
  4. Smells Like Teen Spirit
  5. FLY AGAIN
  6. Out of Control (with Ali Tabatabaee and Matty Lewis of Zebrahead)
  7. Get Off of My Way

*If you have not read the backstory for Man With A Mission, I highly suggest reading it. There’s a few different versions floating around, but it is completely crazy and I love it.

They have released a new single titled Raise your Flag in October this year, so check out the music video for their title track and Out of Control featuring Zebrahead. If you were at the show, please let us know what you thought in the comments below.

A special thanks goes out to our special guest writer getignited for covering this show!

MAN WITH A MISSION Raise your flag Regular Edition

Raise your Flag

Regular edition 1200 yen

CD

  1. Raise your Flag
  2. STELLA
  3. Far
  4. Seven Deadly Sins (Remix ver.)

Buy from our online store

MAN WITH A MISSION Raise your flag Limited Edition

Raise your Flag

Limited edition 1800 yen

CD

  1. Raise your Flag
  2. STELLA
  3. Far
  4. Seven Deadly Sins (Remix ver.)

DVD

  1. Take What U Want
  2. Get Off of My Way
  3. Mash UP the DJ!
  4. database
  5. Wabi Sabi Wasabi (ワビ・サビ・ワサビ)
  6. DON’T LOSE YOURSELF

Buy from our online store

MAN WITH A MISSION Raise your flag Limited Pressing

Raise your Flag

Limited pressing 1300 yen

CD

  1. Raise your Flag
  2. STELLA
  3. Far
  4. Seven Deadly Sins (Remix ver.)

Buy at CDJapan

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