Concert review: Peelander-Z (Video)

VIENNA, Va., April, 25, 2012 — There are two sides to the band Peelander-Z.  One is the non-fiction side about three Japanese guys living in New York City and wanting to form a punk rock band with an elaborate stage presence. The other is the fictional side involving a group from the Z area of planet Peelander fighting giant space squids as an action punk band. 

While one side is basically real and the other is absolute absurdity, to fully enjoy and appreciate a Peelander-Z show both sides have to be embraced as the absolute truth.

Witnessing a Peelander-Z show is unlike any other music show and almost has more in common with vaudeville routines at the turn of the 20th century. The band plays a pretty basic and simplified version of punk rock. When it comes to their sound there isn’t a thing that’s complicated about them. 

They are high energy and as straight forward as any band could be.

The songs they play, on top of being straight forward punk, are absolutely ridiculous. The lyrical content of the songs include the educational options of ninjas, their preferred conditions for eating steak, and how many people named Mike they know. 

The songs have all the emotional weight of a classic Ramones song and are just as fun to sing along to with infectious choruses to shout. 

If Peelander-Z was content to just play these songs straight, their live shows would be perfectly entertaining in their own right and not a single person in attendance would complain. There’s definitely a mad genius at work here, but only half of it extends from the actual songs, the rest comes alive in their on stage performance.

Peelander-Z look like a warped version of the Japanese super sentai teams, better known as Power Rangers in the states, up on stage.  Each member of the band has an assigned color and they only refer to themselves as such.  Peelander Yellow is the front man, Peelander Red is on bass, and Peelander Green drums and brings the smiles. 

Rounding out the group is the newest member, the mute guitarist Peelander Black, and the ever stalwart Peelander Pink filling in on keys, backing vocals, and anywhere else she is needed.

The show is just as ridiculous as the band’s set up. They’ve been doing this 1998 and the show is as unpredictable as ever. At any point the band could breakout into wrestling match wearing tiger masks, have a bowling session with a giant squid, or start an impromptu limbo contest. On top of that, they encourage massive amounts of audience participation, handing out bowls and sticks to hammer along with various songs. 

Towards the end of every show, they even select three people from the audience to fill in on guitar, bass, and drums. It’s all finely orchestrated but still feels real.

Most people present at DC9 to see Peelander-Z have seen the band before and buy into the band’s premise completely. The band inspires a pretty devoted following and most people who see them become instant fans. It is a wonder that such an energetic live show does not attract a larger crowd, but there is no way Peelander-Z could exist to a larger audience

Peelander-Z is the epitome of the cult band.  They are destined to play small, intimate bars and clubs because the band has to connect to the audience in a personal way or else their entire project will lose its purpose. It would be nice for Peelander-Z to reach a mass audience, but that’s not really their intent nor would they necessarily be embraced. 

Instead they’ll continue to rock out in places like DC9, where their music, elaborate set-up and back story can impact the audience to its full effect.

Stephen Bradley is an avid music listener. Read more of his work in Riffs at the Washington Times Communities.


This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

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Stephen Bradley

Stephen Bradley is an avid music listener and an occasional writer.  He grew up in the Washington DC area and has been embedded in the local music scene for years.  Currently he lives in Vienna, VA.   He enjoys bands that have been broken up for at least a decade.

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