Supernova Stop-Over

The space ship has landed.

ATN Philadelphia correspondent Chris Nelson


Supernova continued its tour of this planet with a stop at Philadelphia's Silk

City Lounge on Thursday (Feb. 22). For those not versed in the band's lore,

here's the skinny: Originally from the planet Cynot 3, located well beyond our

own solar system, the band members hightailed it out of there when their local

sun went supernova. They landed near Las Vegas in 1990, and promptly formed a

band to coax us gullible Earthlings into parting with our tinfoil, the most

valuable resource for the Cynotion people.

Now signed to Amphetamine

Reptile, Supernova seem to be spending a good deal of its advance cash on

promotional tinfoil, possibly as a lure to get humans to pull out their own

stashes. Before Supernova gigs, everyone gets a generously sized piece,

ostensibly for protection. Jo the drummer offered me my portion with the vague

warning, "Just in never know...the radiation tonight."

While the

audience played with its foil, the band prepared for its grand entrance. Within

minutes, the three members of Supernova emerged outfitted in costumes like none

the world has seen since the band Sexual Milkshake was still together. (OK,

most of the world didn't see them; you'll just have to trust me on this

one.) Their bodies were clad in what appeared to be silver toxic waste removal

suits, while on their heads were large heating duct sections, complete with

lighted antennae and green glass face masks. The helmets, however, only

survived the first number before they were removed. The remainder of the suits

were ditched after the second song to reveal tightly fitting Supernova

underwear, in which the band played the rest of its set. Even with the suits

on, the band was hopping all over the place like they were still getting used

to Earth's gravity.

The show was primarily comprised of songs from their Am

Rep debut CD, Ages 3 And Up. These tunes, plus the odd single track

(most notably "Chewbacca" from the Clerks soundtrack), were executed

with a ferocity that put the show's attitude-filled openers Gaunt in their

place ­­ all the while tackling such threatening topics as Oreos,

vitamins, bubble gum, and drool.

The Supernova fellas have termed their

style Spacewave, and it vacillates between sharp-edged surf rock

musically, and Saturday morning cartoon fluff lyrically. All of their catalog

benefits from the grittiness of their live performance. Their CD is definitely

cleaner and brighter sounding, but then again it has to be: It's hard to

convince people you're capable of traveling three million light years in

suspended animation if you're unable to assemble a tight three piece combo with

high quality production.

But while the live setting jacked up the quality

of the music, it also demonstrated that the band has not yet mastered the

earthly custom of curbing mindless chatter between songs. The banter was enough

to whittle the crowd of 40 souls down to 20, and the show time of 60 minutes

down to a mere 45 of actual music. Before it began driving people away,

however, the downtime offered Art the bassist the chance to both demonstrate

his spitting prowess, and reveal to the band's self-effacing side with the

question, "Devo, Man or Astroman? ­­ who else are we ripping off?"

Although someone offered "Kiss," the query was never answered definitively. If

you're into costumes, surf, and cartoons, check Supernova out and decide for