Peelander-Z crash lands to excite stale rock venue


Kelly Wenzel


By Arts & Culture Editor

The “Japanese action comic” punk band Peelander-Z has proven that no one is too old to enjoy a rock show. With more attention toward audience participation than playing the band’s own songs, Peelander-Z stirred up the 50-person crowd Nov. 13 at Reggie’s Music Joint, 2105 S. State St. 

After two opening acts—pop group Nonnie Parry and garage band the Sueves—the three members, who go by the monikers Peelander-Yellow, Peelander-Red and Peelander-Green, took to the stage in what was thought to be the start of the group’s show. However, this turned out to only be a sound check and was followed by the group’s guitarist/lead singer Peelander-Yellow jumping off stage and clearing the floor of all tables and chairs. The band claims to give their fans “a chance to exercise,” which has earned them a cult following across the country. 

Moments before the band would take the stage and begin its circus-like punk show that almost mimics the children’s show “Yo-Gabba Gabba,” the band’s fans, from leather, stud-clad punks to middle-aged couples, began to fill the dance floor, awaiting the grand entrance of the anime-meets-Ramones band from New York City. 

Peelander-Z donned neon uniforms, giant animal hats and sunglasses, playing the ‘80s hair metal-inspired track “Heavy Snake” off of its 2013 album, Metalander-Z. Peelander-Yellow’s yellow fur jacket perfectly accentuated his yellow-dyed beard. 

The group entered into an extended free-form of hysteria through chugging guitar riffs, pounding snares and screaming, “Let’s have a party!” to the audience. The first part of the act was not even worthy of being called a song—the closest comparison is avant-garde gone awry. By the time it was over, the group had traded instruments, brought fans up to stage dive and Peelander-Yellow had extended his mic stand upward by 10 feet, requiring him to play atop a happy audience member’s shoulders. 

The band finally found some structure with its song “Mad Tiger” by sporting tiger masks and holding up a sign reading “Mad Tiger” to help the audience sing along. However, this was not a complete song played from start to finish because Peelander-Red began to pass out metal bowls and drumsticks for the audience to play while Peelander-Yellow ran throughout the dance floor with a bright yellow spotlight. Despite the chaos, the audience loved every minute of it and pounded their new instruments in unison.

Venturing into the band’s food-themed material, “Taco” and “Steak” both featured call-and-response lyrics involving the audience, and Peelander-Yellow removed his yellow Flying V Guitar and again ran around the gig space, this time standing on top of the bar and kissing the bartender.

Peelander-Z’s set was complete when Peelander-Yellow acted as a human bowling ball and was chased around Reggie’s by drummer Peelander-Green. He returned to the stage to dive into the bowling pins set up by Peelander-Red, which inspired excited cheers from the audience.

Peelander-Z is obviously not the perfect live show for everyone, but it is truly a one of a kind experience, combining the theatrics of costumed rock acts and routines of prop comedians. Regardless of what the masses may think about this spectacle, the Peelander-Z fans definitely dig the band and its vibrant, extraterrestrial members.