All The Saints, Man... or Astroman?
March 5, 2010

Text and photos by Frederick Noble

A month or so ago when this show was announced I knew it would sell out so I bought tickets in advance. The week of the show my Facebook feed was full of people searching for tickets (and more than a few looking for carpooling opportunities to get to the wilds of Roswell) so let that be a lesson to you, people. When those once-every-ten-years events happen maybe it's worth the extra couple of dollars in service charges to ensure you can attend!

I picked up my lovely date at her apartment full of swanky retro furnishings and piled into my 1969 Thunderbird to catch a band that hasn't played in a decade - a night of full sensory flashbacks.

First stop, The Harp, an Irish pub out there on Holcomb Bridge, for beers and food. Ireland is not exactly known for its cuisine. Perhaps appearances have something to do with that.

Not long after we arrived, a man got on stage and did acoustic covers of random tunes, most with skill and precision, but we were more interested in eating, drinking and chatting.

Then on to Whirlyball, a peculiar venue in the basement of a strip mall in which you can play basketball using a whiffleball and a scoop while riding in a bumper car.

The venu is all ages, making trips to the bar frustrating since you can only pick up one drink at a time - no fetching beers for you and your date. This was particularly annoying with the sardine-can condition of the sold out room.

We'd missed opening act The NEC, but managed to weasel our way close to the stage for All The Saints, a local droney kind of stoner rock act. They have an interesting sound, but it needs to vary more.

There's no way for intensity to remain intense if there's nothing to contrast against. I've enjoyed these guys when they had short sets in the middle of a bunch of other acts, but this time their set seemed to drag. Mix it up a bit, guys!

Looking around the room, I saw the expected old friends and familiar faces, mixed in with folks who'd never seen Man... or Astroman?

Which is too bad, really, because back in the day...Well for now let's just say you should'a been there.

The guys came out in silver jumpsuits and the room was transformed into a sea of LCD panels as everyone raised their cameras and phones to get pictures. Between the movies projected behind the band and the various lights they set up all around the stage, the room was a blur of colored light. Which is why, with my steadfast refusal to use flash, most of my photos came out looking like this. However, for Man... or Astroman? I think the photos are absolutely appropriate. This one mimics what the band is trying to accomplish anyhow, with their mash-up of sci-fi b-movies and psychadelic surf rock.

As you'd expect, most of the set consisted of instrumentals, fast and precise. Lacking were the on-stage antics - no flaming televisions or battling robots or any of the other nifty things they used to do.

Also lacking was more music. The set was maybe an hour at most. The crowd shouted for an encore but were given a few seconds of a Tesla coil instead (which I somehow missed, perhaps when I stepped into the bathroom) and ushered out the door.

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