This is a past event.

Man or Astroman 

When: Thu., Oct. 13, 8 p.m. 2011
The early ’90s were the age of grunge, when the hair metal that had dominated the airwaves in the ’80s was pushed aside by scruffy, flannel-clad slackers such as Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Alice in Chains. But just under the surface there were bands that drew inspiration not from Neil Young and Hüsker Dü but from the Ventures and Dick Dale. At the head of this surf-rock revival was a group, by way of Auburn, Alabama, known as Man or Astro-Man?.

The band’s Is It Man … Or Astro-Man? and Project Infinity stand beside the classics of the ’60s as blasts of reverb-drenched surf energy. But instead of dreaming of breakers and bikinis, Man or Astro-Man? were using their songs to drop the science — or at least, science fiction. They were geek rock when being a geek was still geeky. Their songs are shot through with samples from golden-age monster and sci-fi movies. At the same time, the band toured relentlessly with a wild stage show that resembled a NASA yard sale. They projected video, wore space suits, and set various stage objects on fire — including, sometimes, themselves — all the while claiming they were aliens sent to our planet to rock.

The band has been on hiatus since 2001 but are now on the comeback trail, with a new album in the works. If you’ve ever wanted to see a spaceman play bass with his helmet on fire, you’ll get your chance when Man or Astro-Man? play the Hi-Tone Café on Thursday, October 13th, with Richard James & the Special Riders. Doors open at 8 p.m. Admission is $15.

— Chris McCoy

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