The Aquabats are scheduled to perform Saturday, December 13.
Marquee Theatre in Tempe
With their golden-age comic book costumes, silly supervillains, and absurd song titles, The Aquabats are punk rawk's answer to GWAR. Only instead of promising the destruction of the known universe through copious bodily fluids, the 'Bats are out to protect it. The superhero rock brigade got its start in 1994 in Huntington Beach, California, as a part of the resurgent ska wave that saw bands like Real Big Fish and Mighty Mighty Bosstones hit it big. Beyond the trumpets and the 'tude, The Aquabats differentiated themselves from the ska pack with ridiculous-but-inspired lyrics about Martians, killer snakes, and men born of powdered milk. Who doesn't love that? Over the years, though, the Bats have endured countless lineup changes (even Blink 182's Travis Barker picked up the sticks at one point), as well as enduring a dramatic shifting of the musical landscape. As a result, The Aquabats all but dropped the ska element from their music, replacing noisy brass and staccato rhythms with nerd-rock synthesizers and heavier guitar work. And oddly, the change seems to fit their personas as geeky defenders of the free world even better. The group is still touring off its genre-shifting 2005 record, Charge!!, and is busy working on its fifth release.