Peelander-Z, Chalk, Problem Daughter @ Urban Lounge 04.10
After a long journey from Planet Peelander (New York City), Peelander-Z landed at Urban Lounge as part of their US, West Coast tour of planet Earth. They will maintain a low Earth orbit as they loop through the rest of the West Coast before heading back to their home planet. Self-identified as a Japanese Action Comic Punk band, Peelander-Z are known for the unexpected stage antics and near catastrophe that made for the best night at Urban Lounge I’ve had in a long time.
After watching Problem Daughter, I eagerly zone in on Peelander Yellow, Red and Green toting massive amounts of props, instruments and signs onto the stage only to play an extended version of “Check! Check! Check! Yeah!” and ask the audience, “Are you ready!?” to which the audience enthusiastically replies, “Yes!” only to be crushed with, “Good, we need two more minutes!” What can only be intro music to the insanity that’s about to unfold begins to play as three anime characters come running onto the stage yelling in nearly indiscernible Japanese accents: “Salt Lake City, PARTY TIME!!!!” I rouse from my stupor and run to the stage as Peelander-Pink pulls a dude dressed like an anime character and a girl on the stage and passes out pans and sticks to the audience as they go into “Mad Tiger.” Pink teaches the new band members the choreography and holds up a sign that says “Mad Tiger” signaling the audience to yell along and it’s complete chaos everywhere! It’s like being at the fucking circus. Everyone somehow knows exactly what they are doing in this clusterfuck. The audience is out of sync with the band, Yellow has wrapped a rope around everyone on the dance floor, then has Pink jump rope on the stage, the two honorary members of the band are dancing wildly making claws with their fingers as the band tries to play around them when suddenly Yellow demands everyone to “Shut UP!” as Pink plays “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” on a toy melodica before going back into a super fast jam only to stop abruptly.
The poor volunteers from the audience awkwardly make their way back to the crowd as Pink digs out another sign, “ABCDEFGHIJKLMN,” signaling the audience to sing along and yell “Ohhhh PEE!” One moment they are pulling another awkward audience member onto the stage and instructing him to stage dive when all of a sudden Yellow has extended his mic stand (which I later realize is a painter’s pole) all the way to the ceiling and is seeking out the tallest man in the audience to pick him up to reach the mic. One lucky fellow lifts him onto his shoulders while having a bright yellow flying V played on his head with Yellow, in his sweaty leggings yelling into the microphone. Yellow tosses his guitar to the audience so he can scale the ceiling rafters like Spider Man, nearly knocking a speaker off the ceiling, then gracefully falling backwards into the crowd to retrieve his guitar and finish the song.
During “Taco Taco Tacos,” the ever-smiling drummer comes to the front of the stage to solve a Rubik’s cube in about 35 seconds in front of the cheering crowd, then runs back to his drum kit. Yellow asks the audience who’s named Mike, and several people hold up their hands as Pink reveals the lyrics to the next song, “So Many Mike!,” stirring up a huge pit in the middle of the dance floor in this tiny venue. Some of the crowd is trying to get closer to the stage to be part of the spectacle while others are avoiding it so as not to take part and look like an idiot.
Now, at this moment there’s a massive mosh pit consuming the dance floor, three brightly clothed cartoon punk rockers running about onstage, people banging pots and pans over their heads, and as I’m taking all of this in, suddenly Peelander-Z is no longer playing their own instruments, two audience members are! Yellow says to the giggling guitar usurper, “Sneaky Chinese boy, gangster style!” Pink is holding a sign that says “drummer wanted” as I see Yellow and Green clearing a path to the door where they spin around in wild circles. Green let’s go of Yellow, who takes off like a rocket toward the exit, scaring the shit out of Will Sartain and turning back around to launch toward the stage to knock over bowling pins they had laid out on the dance floor. The gap closes up and the mosh pit continues as Peelander-Z finish their set with “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.” While Pink and Green tear down, Yellow sings “My Shake” karaoke style (the lyrics to which are “Shake My Shake”) while he shakes damn near everyone in the audience’s hands and kisses people on the forehead; he ends the evening with “I love you Peelander-Salt Lake City!”
A super fucking fun night, that started out lame, but my silly frown was turned upside down within 30 seconds of Peelander playing. I’m certain the tinnitus will never go away. So, unless you’re an idiot, if this band is anywhere near you in the future, go see them!