Surfin' UFO

Another blast of otherworldly wonder and weirdness from Electronic Planet Ensemble

Surfin' UFO

The Vortex, 2307 Manor Rd., 478-5282, www.electronicplanetensemble.com

Arts Review

Through Jan. 24

Running time: 1 hr

David Jewell and the Electronic Planet Ensemble, who gave us their Spaceman:Dada:Robot last year, return in this first month of the new decade with another sonic exploration of

otherworldly wonder and weirdness.

As before, Jewell, an old-school spoken-word talent who started out back in the years before poetry was slammed, regales the crowd with his musings on things cosmic and his "Gidget Goes Galactic" narrative of the interdimensional romance between Surf Boy and Space Girl.

"Regales," did we say? Fairly croons, at times, between more staccato stretches of story, like some resurrected beatnik from the Fifties laying down the vibe in a bongo-filled coffeehouse.

There are no bongos, per se, in Surfin' UFO – although, if there were, they'd more likely be played by the ghost of Erich von Däniken than by that of the famously bongo-happy physicist Richard Feynman. No, there's an entire drum kit here, lashed into with deep skills and ferocious intensity by Rachel Fuhrer, laying the groundwork for the prog-rock keyboards of Chad Salvata and Sergio Samayoa's badass bass guitar. No coffeehouse vibe beyond the frontman in this show, fellow space traveler: Is this what it would sound like if Hawkwind had been Laurie Anderson's backup band? Close enough for astrophysics.

If you like tales of wacky sci-fi romance, surf movies, and the compelling mysteries of crop circles; if you like the feeling of having discovered a gem of beat-driven space-arena music hidden in the midst of the theatre community; if you can groove to the stylings of a cat in a jumpsuit who might remind you of your eccentric Uncle Dave who has that Fortean Society membership, except that your uncle never had the funky moves and vocal finesse this man Jewell has; if so, then you'll love this the way John Carter loved Dejah Thoris.

Personally, we'd like to see some longer breaks between songs, with simply spoken matter that's more than brief and interstitial, to mix things up a bit. And, musicwise, solos from each of those amazing instrumentalists. But maybe that's something for the next EPE show? Maybe that, like 2012, is drawing inexorably closer. For now, there's this door into a solid evening of spoken-word space rock inside the Vortex's comfortable warehouse venue. And the Anunnaki, those ancient astronauts who genetically engineered the human race into what we are today, are knock-knock-knocking at that door. You should join them, space-budget allowing.

READ MORE
More Arts Reviews
Sam Bass Community Theatre's <i>Flaming Idiots</i>
Sam Bass Community Theatre’s Flaming Idiots
Big heart propels the slamming doors and zippy one-liners of this production of Tom Rooney's farce

T. Lynn Mikeska, March 24, 2017

“Jana Swec: Congitopia” at grayDUCK Gallery
It's the valuable give and take between Jana Swec and her collaborators that make this show consistent, as well as surprising

Sam Anderson-Ramos, March 24, 2017

More by Wayne Alan Brenner
SXSW Panel: The Future of Policing
The Future of Policing
That thin blue line is a little shaky and could definitely use some help

March 13, 2017

SXSW Panel: You Are Not Anonymous: The Myth of Online Privacy
You Are Not Anonymous: The Myth of Online Privacy
The moving hand clicks, and its activity is tracked and sold everywhere

March 13, 2017

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Surfin' UFO, Electronic Planet Ensemble, David Jewell, Chad Salvata, Rachel Fuhrer, Sergio Samayoa

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

Updates for SXSW 2017

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)