Spidey vs. Powerman

Powerman 5000 headlines heavy night at the Senator

WEAVING WEBS<br>Frontman Spider of Powerman 5000

Frontman Spider of Powerman 5000

Photo By Tom Angel

Powerman 5000, Abominable Iron Sloth & Common Ground Senator Theatre Tues., March 22

The Z-Rock deejays chuckled over the pronunciation of the Abominable Iron Sloth, accidentally referring to the opening band as the Abdominable Iron Sloth on Tuesday night, as I drove to the Senator Theatre.

A wrinkled white sheet with what looked like NASA video footage of men in space suits projected onto the homemade backdrop featuring the Chico metal band with the tongue-twisted name. The Abominable Iron Sloth got a good rhythm going on stage with its booming heavy drums and feisty guitar, and lead vocalist Justin Cash, with his curly dark mop of hair, did his best scream-singing voice to affect those in attendance. I just ended up feeling shaken by the thundering speaker vibrations that came up through the seats, which seemed to be the intended effect.

The four-piece hard-rock group Common Ground from Redding performed next, starting off, with cheerleader enthusiasm, with “Tell Me,” followed by “Shadows,” featuring a captivating and clever guitar intro that led into a truly commanding chorus instrumentally and vocally. Vocalist Alex Cardoza wore a white T-shirt with the word “CREEP” handwritten in black Sharpie pen as he showed off his deep guttural voice, yet happily jumped up and down pumping his fists excitedly in the air.

The theater became a vibrant shade of yellow when front man Spider from Powerman 5000 meandered out onto the stage. Sporting a black-leather jacket, tight jeans and spiky platinum hair, Spider was looking very Billy Idol-esque. The heavy-rock band had a sci-fi punk vibe throughout its show. Chico was the group’s first stop on this tour promoting the release of its latest album of previously unreleased tracks, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Volume 1.

With crazy wide eyes, Spider looked up to the balcony and pointed toward the ceiling as the band blasted out “Action” from 2003’s Transform. The moshing quickly churned up, to the displeasure of about a dozen red-shirted bouncers who picked and pulled at every teenager trying to slam dance as the bassist dipped his guitar and strutted around in circles as he worked the crowd of fans in the front.

One dramatic element was added to this performance. At one point, one by one, the drummer, then the guitarists, then the bassist each stopped playing, leaving Spider to freestyle the song solo. The band quickly returned to the stage and crouched down facing the speakers before exploding into “Bombshell” from Anyone for Doomsday.

It was refreshing to hear Powerman 5000 play mostly raw, stripped of too many synthesized sounds. But I must bite my tongue a bit, as the group rounded out the evening with its 1999 hit single "When Worlds Collide," featuring a very mechanized futuristic feel, appropriate for the lyrics—"It’s the end of all time…"