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ISSUE 117 VOL 16 PUBLISHED 4/23/2004

ManPlanet out of this world

By Derek Zobel
Contributing Writer


Friday, April 23, 2004

Clad in tight-fitting, solid-colored clothing whose colors matched the performers' instruments, ManPlanet once again exploded on to the St. Olaf scene last Friday night with an energetic set of space rock.

The Pause fit ManPlanet's performance style well. Barraging the audience with color, light, and music, the group utilized all the technology the Pause has to offer.

What does a band with the name ManPlanet sound like? If Devo and Weezer had a child, it would be ManPlanet. This unique music has found a loyal audience throughout the Midwest, and St. Olaf is no exception.

"I saw them play last year knowing absolutely nothing about them and it was a great show," Paul Anderson '06 said. "Since then, I've listened to more of their catalogue and came to the show this year with a newfound appreciation."

When asked about the unique approach ManPlanet takes to a show, Anderson said, "For a band that is not known well, they put forth an amazing amount of energy and really try to connect with the crowd."

That interaction with the crowd was especially evident when lead singer and guitar player Jeff Ham joined the audience on the floor. Students were also invited up to the stage to rock out with ManPlanet themselves. Marit Hagen '06 said, "The best part of the show was when they played their last song, 'Ball of Twine.' It was especially amazing because I got to dance around onstage!"

The band's loyal Midwest following developed out of the performances ManPlanet has done in the region. In addition to performing at the Minnesota State Fair, they appeared a few times on the Comedy Central show "Let's Bowl." The show was filmed in Minneapolis at Stardust Lanes. Luckily, when the mediocre "Let's Bowl" was cancelled, ManPlanet didn't go down with the ship.

The band's first CD, Skylab E.P., was released in 2000 and featured five tracks. Their second album, An Introductory to Musicianship, came out in the fall of 2001, containing six tracks. Although ManPlanet officially has only 11 tracks, they perform new material at live shows, giving audiences a sneak peak into what their next album will hold.

A website about ManPlanet, http://manplanet.iwarp.com/flash.html, reads, "More than just a rock concert. More than just a show. They have come to take your brain on a fascinating journey to their home & ManPlanet."

In actuality, ManPlanet is comprised of four men who have developed stage names to go along with their band. Led by Jefferson White, sporting a white getup, the rest of the band consisted of guitarist Tim Crimson (red), drummer Pete Greene (green) and keyboardist Atom Blutron (blue). Together, they formed a strong unified front which shone through in their performance at St. Olaf.

One disappointing aspect of the hour-long show was the absence of pyrotechnics. The band used them successfully in last year's show, and it would have been fun to see them again.

However, even without pyrotechnics, ManPlanet delivered a show that was not merely a concert, but rather an entire musical experience. The band integrated lights and synthesizer effects into their songs, creating a unique and engaging atmosphere.

As Hagen said, "ManPlanet knows how to put on an entertaining show, but I think we all know the real appeal is in their plastic space-suits."





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