Jumping Rope & Yelling About Steaks: Peelander-Z Get Crazy At Strange Matter

by | May 15, 2014 | MUSIC

Peelander-Z, who graced the stage at Strange Matter last Thursday, has a very important question for you: How do you like your steak? You may answer however you please, but their music and live shows are built on a heavy dose of crowd participation and manipulation, so there’s a sign board to let you know that the response they’re looking for is “medium rare.”


Peelander-Z, who graced the stage at Strange Matter last Thursday, has a very important question for you: How do you like your steak? You may answer however you please, but their music and live shows are built on a heavy dose of crowd participation and manipulation, so there’s a sign board to let you know that the response they’re looking for is “medium rare.”

They will tell you they are from the planet Peelander, but our basic earth geography places that somewhere near Japan by way of New York. The band members are named for the color costumes they wear. The whole premise is sort of like a children’s show designed to teach baby Japanese aliens about Western culture. There’s a song that’s pretty much just the alphabet. There’s dances to go along with the call and response songs. There’s jump roping and human bowling. The entire set is peppered with observations about life in America, the most obvious being perhaps “So many Mike!”

Seeing this band play has been a quasi-religious experience for me over the years. Maybe it’s just because I was raised Catholic, but the chants, the dances, the strange ritualism of it all has always been very appealing. I seldom go see live bands play anymore, but I was out to brunch when I saw the flyer for last week’s show and the friends I was with can tell you how hard I freaked out. After coming to see Peelander-Z with me, I think I’ve officially converted them.

Last week’s show featured a new and decidedly more American Peelander Green than previous years and was lacking the Peelander Red I’ve grown accustomed to seeing. My fears were assuaged by another amazing experience, and I learned after the show that there is now a Peelander Purple on bass who wasn’t able to make it. Frontman Peelander Yellow fortunately oozes swagger and showmanship in spades, and since this band is more about the experience, it didn’t really feel lacking. Peelander Pink has stepped up and added more female vocals on a lot of songs, which is awesome, especially since her singing and performance style tends to whip quickly between cute and terrifying.

I’d never heard of openers Downtown Brown. They look like a bunch of regular white punk kids from Detroit, but after half an hour of funky basslines, being faked out while the band pretended to start bad covers, and enjoying the singer’s Jello Biafra meets “the Ballroom Blitz” voice, I was totally sold. They got the audience pumped, laughing, and ready to dance, and that’s about as prepared for Peelander-Z as one can be if you haven’t seen them before.

Richmond’s own Creep-a-zoids kicked the night off right in matching 3-D glasses, played a phenomenal cover of “The Bird” in addition to a lot of their own awesome tunes like “Dead by Dawn” and “Surf Nazis Must Die,” and provided the dude named Steve-O required at every punk show since 1996.

Marilyn Drew Necci

Marilyn Drew Necci

Former GayRVA editor-in-chief, RVA Magazine editor for print and web. Anxiety expert, proud trans woman, happily married.




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