Man or Astro-man? land at Bottletree on Halloween

By on November 6, 2012
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“Thank you, planet Earth!” said the glowing spaceman with the guitar. He stood among three other human-looking aliens on stage at The Bottletree on Halloween night. The aliens tore into a beautiful soundscape of surf punk and sampled science fiction bites. This space phenomenon is no stranger to the state of Alabama. They are Man or Astro-man? and perople claim that they formed in Auburn in the early 1990’s. Man or Astro-man? have been sighted playing many events at Bottletree around the ends of October and December and some other months of the year, if Earthlings are lucky.

Birmingham natives Man or Astro-man? lit up Bottletree on Halloween night to an enthusiastic audience. Britty Reese

Halloween seemed like the perfect setting for the band: A good bit of the audience looked either unhuman or incredibly strange as well. Pinhead from Hellraiser took a necklace made of blue lights and decided to see the show, as did Adventure Time’s Finn, Mitt Romney and his personified binder full of women, a female Pee Wee Herman, Ramona Flowers, and a cluster full of regular humans, costumed or not. “We like your planet better on Halloween,” claimed member Coco the Electronic Monkey Wizard, and rightfully so. Each member glowed in the dark in some way, with bright neon stripes attached to their jumpsuits. But as far as we humans know, that could just be the everyday attire for an astro-man or astro-lady.

The band had a more involved set up than most bands you might see at Bottletree. On stage were curled tubes of light, monitors in the shapes of triangles and open umbrellas projecting sci-fi film clips to go along with the sound bites, and the most gorgeous out of this world (forced pun be damned!) guitars.

The “longest bass in the world” which featured a built in touchpad soundboard in its extended body was played by Coco, while guitar and bass switch off duties were given to Avona Nova who would sometimes play bass along with the other bass. On a Mosrite guitar was Star Crunch who would take vocals in the few songs that actually had singing. Birdstuff played the drums in the back, but would come up to the mic every few songs to make jokes. He claimed that one member had the letters “PMS” tattooed on a certain part of his body which sometimes reads “PRIMUS” when it becomes larger…you get the idea.

Man or Astro-man? is primarily an instrumental band and set the perfect mood for an energetic dance party gone bizarre. Skull art lined the wall closest to the stage, the bartenders looked like religious figures, and the audience boogied to the retro-futuristic tones. “We can warp time to make new songs sound even newer!” boasted the band.

The set wasn’t too terribly long, however. Nor was it too short, it was just the right length. Sadly, their cover of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 “Love Theme” was not played this fun Halloween night. However, the show was ended on a very highnote: Birdstuff (known to some under the strange moniker “Brian Teasley”) introduced the last song as being the song they played when he proposed to his wife, Merrilee Challis. As the song progressed, Star Crunch jumped on top of an amp and Coco lit a small theremin on fire. It can only be assumed that Joel Robinson is not doing pyrotechnics for the band anymore.

The small fire was safely put out, as Man or Astro-man? are peaceful and would never put the audience in any real danger. At the very end of the set, a Tesla coil was erected the most brilliant purple lightning into the club. There was no encore, the band came to Earth, did what they do best and left the stage illuminated. It was quite the party not to be missed, but if any of you other Earthlings want to catch Man or Astro-man? be sure to keep an eye on Bottletree’s events calendar. It’s one spacey experience!

Britty Reese
Senior Staff Writer
brittyr@uab.edu

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