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Man or Astroman? photo by tiina liimu 2013

Biltmore Cabaret - Wednesday May 13, 2013

In 1993, four alien visitors with an insatiable hunger for the music of the Ventures, shockingly bad sci fi flicks and Spam touched down in Auburn, Alabama to begin their quest to conquer Earth with their space-surf sounds. In 2013, twenty years has taught them a lot: Tesla coils make for amazing “international incidents” at major metropolitan airports, sending clones to tour for you allows for more hang time with the relatives and the town of Visalia, California is undoubtedly in the minds of MOAM? the WORST possible place anyone can visit in the world and they spent THREE DAYS THERE.

Some mechanical issues with their Earth-issued tour van resulted with our interstellar  invaders flying in what they referred to as a “sub-standard shuttle” to make their show and subsequently leaving a lot of their space-junk (read: hypnotizing death rays and  other mind-control devices) back on the other side of the border. (Regrettably, yours  truly missed openers Audacity because I intercepted a message from the time travellers needing extra drum gear, so by the time my own sub-standard shuttle got home and back their set was all but space dust.) ‘Twas of no matter, because they blew our brains out anyway with the set opener “Anti-Matter Man” (one of only a few vocal numbers sung this night by guitarist Starcrunch) and began the countdown to fun from which we mindless masses almost didn’t recover. We did manage midway through the set to disperse a gaggle of mechanical monsters who rushed the stage and set off a dance floor dance-off (with the assistance of newest MOAM? recruit Avona Nova) that even bewildered the quartet, finally making them realize that with all the advances of modern technology, all you really need to make a robot is some cardboard and silver spray paint, who knew?

Man or Astroman? photo by tiina liimu 2013

Well it was “All Systems To Go” from that point on, with more tunes from their brand new recording Defcon 5…4…3...2...1 like “Codebreaker Seventy Eight” as well as a tremendous back catalog of cosmic proportions like “Man Made of CO2”, “Transmissions From Venus”, U-Uranus” (dedicated to their aforementioned unfortunate pit stop) and a special set sparked by the return of former MOAM? alumni Victor Vector and a warp speed rendition of Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet’s “Aunt’s Invasion.”

With the evening coming to a close, they chose to leave the crowd with some witty banter between drummer Birdstuff and bassist Coco The Electric Monkey Wizard (and yes that’s his real name, don’t wear it out). When we mere mortals wanted more, Birdstuff proclaimed that encores were not programmed into the mainframe’s manifesto, so they exited the stage to regroup then blast off with “Invasion of The Dragon Men," giving Coco the chance to enter the crowd and offer some final words of wisdom. “You want to hear more Man…Or Astro-Man?” he bellowed. We roared back in approval. “Then go buy the album!”  Ever the charmer that one, but mission accomplished.

- Bryce Dunn