Exit/In was noticeably bare at the beginning of the Peelander-Z show Sunday night. Maybe the recent storms scared everyone off, maybe everyone was at church repenting for their weekend sins, or maybe people simply had no idea that one of the most entertaining live acts in recent memory was blowing up Elliston Place, but one thing is certain: Those absent really missed out. For the under-inoculated, Peelander-Z is the self-proclaimed “Japanese Action Comic Punk” band based out of NYC (though they claim to be from “Planet Peelander”), and they definitely live up to their description. They’ve garnered a true underground following, currently touring in support of their fifth studio album P-Pop High School. With costumes reminiscent of Power Rangers on acid, suitcases full of props for crowd participation, and high energy punk anthems with nonsensical lyrics, Peelander Yellow, Red, Green, and Pink make sure that everyone gets into the act, whether you want to or not.
But before P-Z could melt the faces of the small crowd, Tim Chad & Sherry took the stage to provide some smooth Talking Heads-esque jams. Though they didn’t really mesh musically with the rest of the bill, the tongue-in-cheek lyrics and funky beats helped the crowd get comfortable with each other, which was a greater service than they probably realized. Unfortunately, The Man Power! didn’t continue the good vibes. We left to get a drink next door as the generic blah-rock poured onto an uninterested crowd.
We returned just in time to see the Peelanders setting up their color-coordinated gear in front of an eager audience. After an eruption of J-pop-infused punk, the band handed out drumsticks and kitchen pots as they joined the crowd on the floor for a noisy conga line. The next thing we knew, bassist Peelander Red was hanging upside down from the balcony and everyone was screaming wildly below. Before long, three random audience members were onstage playing the bands’ instruments and the Peelanders themselves were setting up a human bowling game in monster costumes for the grand finale. The small crowd was actually the perfect size for such an all-over-the-place performance, but it’s too bad so many people missed it. You owe it to yourself to see the spectacle next time.