Local Wire

The Phenomenauts

The Phenomenauts could be the most inspired shtick-rock band to hit the scene since the day someone brought a Mexican wrestling mask to a Los Straitjackets practice. Hailed as California's "Best Live Band" by the East Bay Express, The Phenomenauts' shtick is simple yet effective. Bearing costumes, props and helmets, they invade the stage as psychobilly spacemen out to make the world safe for rock 'n' roll — or costumed goofballs playing rock 'n' roll, at least. And have we mentioned that even their van is in character? Which wouldn't matter half as much if it weren't for their habit of backing it up with a truly inspired take on old-school rock 'n' roll, fueled by theremin, rollicking Jerry Lee Lewis piano, and exactly the kind of guitar heroics you'd expect. And yet, as often happens when a band invents a prop for shooting toilet paper at the audience, they're not for everyone, just people with a sense of humor and an understanding that it's okay for a rock 'n' roll band to be entertaining on occasion.
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Ed Masley