Man Or Astro-Man?, Terry Malts and The Chucklberries
May 8, 2013
San Francisco, Ca

 Man Or Astro-Man? Touches Down in the Non-Football Variety

I got pretty flippin tickled with I heard Man Or Astro-Man? would be landing their rocket ship at Bimbo’s in the North Beach quadrant of planet San Francisco. It also happened to be the exact weekend that our amazing duo of friends, Holly and Jeremy would be visiting from Grand Rapids, Michigan. I went through a brief yet mystifying period in my early high school days where I explored quite a dabble in reverb. I was introduced to Man Or Astro-Man? through a few of the skate videos that frequented my VCR as a little guy and I was a fan from the word “silence” -as they’re an instrumental band. We Earthlings are clearly fascinated with Outer Space. Think about all the money we spend just to find out if asteroids dip their balls in black holes. I remember hearing that They found evidence that water once flowed on Mars, which means that there may have been life and yada yada yada. You know what I think of when I hear there used to be water some place, be it Mars or elsewhere? That there used to be surfing there too, brah! Maybe this is where Man Or Astro-Man? got the inspiration for their galaxy themed surf music. Wherever they got it, beam my ass up there too cause I love those cats. Either way, our asses as well as several other orifices were gonna be beaming our way to North Beach. Gung Ho, little spaceman!

Jeremy’s the manager at a bar/venue in their hometown called The Pyramid Scheme and that place is tits. If you’re ever in G. Rap head over cause they have really great shows…and a shitload of pinball machines! Anyway, need I mention that both he and his wife Holly were also pretty giddy about seeing some wave breaking tomfoolery of the musical variety? Cause they were. The four of us teamed up with another duo of homies, Lori and Ben, and commenced take-off with some good food and a carbon pack of drinks at Vesuvio. We were like a gang of three cute-as-fuck couples. Bring it.

After Dinner Before the Show

After Dinner Before the Show

We rolled up to Bimbo’s feeling daisy-fresh and piled high, me myself quite excited to see these guys; once again the stars were aligning, coaxing the mythological antibodies of music to take on physical manifestations and bring solidity to the cornucopia of youthful grandeur. I was nearly skidding myself with anticipation. We got in there just as Terry Malts was finishing up their set and thus beginning a quite extensive interlude. I also noticed that there was no merch table for Man Or Astro-Man?, which made me a bit weary. Had I forgotten to wind my Space-Time Continuum? Actually, it turns out that even rocket-powered tour vans take the occasional crap, but I’ll get to that in a moment.

The night wore on and I began to wonder if it was just me, or was the band’s tardiness beginning to teeter on the brink of unfashionable? Turns out it wasn’t just me. We all were left scratching our craniums at the band’s absence. But, as is oft to happen, the darkness of night finally descended upon us, our only guide being a not-so distant constellation of neon beams directing us to the stage. The rocket-van had landed. And the time to kick ass had commenced.

Man Or Astro-Man? took the stage, three  space-men and one space-ette, possibly a fembot. Their instruments leapt to life and I was quickly so happy to be a Humanoid in that particular layer of Spacetime. I love their particular distorted echo style of surf guitar, their fast tempo and the full throttle of it all. Seeing them play live put a whole new dimension on it. All four of them never stopped moving once the music began, consistently gyrating fluidly to the mania their music produced. They even included the Sci-Fi themed samples that litter their albums as well as some warbly sort of electric noise machine that was eventually lit on fire by their bass player, Coco the Electric Monkey Wizard. Being the occasional dipshit that I am, I had pictured them playing silently, just rocking out atop a mic-free stage. For some reason I thought that a band who is predominantly instrumental has no capacity to speak at all. I was happily mistaken. They had mics which were happily employed by one of their guitarists, Star Crunch, in several songs -and often by Coco the Electric Monkey Wizard between songs. It was said Monkey Wizard who informed us of their van’s unfortunate malfunctioning as well as the various items of their belongings that were now strewn across Interstate 5, hence their late blooming.

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Their energy was otherworldly and I couldn’t be more stoked as I watched them have their fun up on stage. Candice, Holly, Jeremy and I continuously traded looks -you know the kind- that said ‘Isn’t this badass?’ ‘Oh fuck yeah.’ Nod nod, fist-pump fist-pump. All four of us gaped in wonder as Star Crunch took surf rock to the next level and sent his guitar out to catch a wave…of the crowd variety. It was kind of funny, the crowd just passed it around for a bit then sent it right on back to him. Well done, everybody. They did the obligatory encore then it was over, their ship rocketed into the distance of backstage, beyond the black curtain of stars like clouds dissipating in the night. But then! as the lights came up, all the rich North Beach dorks obediently filed out and suddenly there they were, Man Or Astro-Man? hob-nobbing with the earthly-plain dwellers. I gave my sincere gratitude to Coco the Electric Monkey Wizard and casually yucked it up with him and some fellow fans. I say casual but in truth I was awkward and star-struck as a doe in a tracter-beam.

So, with that we strolled out into the night feeling alive and full of the energy that seeing an amazing show will inevitably charge you with. I looked up in the night sky and knew that I’d never before felt so close to the cosmos. Exclamation point!

Sean and a Man or Astro Man?

Sean and a Man or Astro-Man?

One Response to Man Or Astro-Man? Touches Down in the Non-Football Variety

  1. Mike says:

    I haven’t heard that name for a decade, used to have a CD of theirs (or possibly a tape?) in the car rotation back in like ’97. Would have been awesome to see them live.