The brilliance in staging Man... Or Astro-Man?'s second coming not in Roswell, N.M., but at Whirly Ball in Roswell, G.A. was made all the more spectacular when the group emerged on stage Friday night in silver space suits, shrouded in smoke and a storm of lights.
Birdstuff (drums), Coco the Electronic Monkey Wizard (bass) and Star Crunch (guitar) were joined by a new guy, guitarist Victor Vector (pictured above), as they tore through a set that leaned heavily on numbers spanning 1994's Destroy All Astromen!, and '97's Made From Technetium.
The stage is truly (and literally) where Man or Astro-Man? have always shined. The rapid-fire montage of '60s Sci-Fi film clips, unrelenting kerrrang and sheer spectacle of the show ripped open entirely new dimensions of nostalgia.
When it comes to surf rock, any band runs the risk of losing steam after the first few rounds of the same chords, the same tricks, and the same rocket-fueled blasts of such a specific brand of rock and roll. But even in the '90s MOAM were aware of this, and kept their show lengths tastefully not too long to lose people's attention. Friday's show was no exception as they pulled the plug on the music about an hour in, and brought it all to a close with a giant Jacob's ladder-like contraption that sent icy blue fingers of electricity out over the stage.
The kind of energy and enthusiasm that the group displayed could have easily been cut from their prime time years and pasted in the here in now -- this was explained away when they disclosed between songs that they've never been too keen on the whole linear time thing.
Afterward, the scuttle of fans, young and old, riffled their way to the parking lot, frantically texting and thumbing through the blurry camera phone pics they had taken during the show, now dazed with permagrins. One 30-something, old school fan in the exodus said it best when removed his ear plugs and huffed, "Man... that was fuggin' awesome."
(Photo by Chad Radford)
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