Taking a break from recording their debut album, the latest musical export from Brooklyn, MEN, returned to London and a date in a railway arch in Shoreditch. I’d seen them last year in the slightly more confined environs of the Old Blue Last, then at the Hoxton Square Bar and Kitchen a couple of months ago, and had been mightily impressed both times. Formed as a side-project by two thirds of electroclash agit-poppers Le Tigre, JD Samson and Johanna Fateman, the band now consists of a trio of Samson and fellow undergrounders, Michael O’Neill and Ginger Brooks Takahashi. Musically, they fuse bouncy dance beats with New Wave infused punk-funk guitar (reminiscent of the likes of CSS, as well as harking back to the illustrious forebears of US New Wave/dance cross-over, Tom Tom Club), whilst lyrically they retain some of Le Tigre’s socio-political bite. Under a banner declaring “who am I to feel so free”, MEN took to the stage. With O’Neill and Takahashi on guitars, Samson was very much centre stage on vocal and keyboard duty. One of the things that has made MEN’s reputation is their live show – indeed, they don’t really consider themselves as a regular band, but more as an “art/performance collective,” with an aim of focusing on the “energy of live performance and the radical potential of dance music.” There was definitely an element of performance art during the set, what with props like a giant fork (picked up in France) and a Samson’s house-shaped hat (a live staple) making an appearance. A curveball was thrown halfway through the set, with a spoken-word piece from a friend of the band, just as the audience were throwing some serious shapes. The Cargo faithful then drew out an encore, in the form of a danced-up version of Joan Armatrading’s 'My Family'. MEN have now headed off to the Continent on tour, before returning to the States for more dates and to finish recording. Signs are promising for the album, as songs like Off Our Backs and Credit Card Babie$ have the hooks and the beats, but if they can fully capture the spirit of their live shows on record, then it’ll be worth the wait.