Live Review

SXSW 2010: Peelander-Z, Headhunters, Austin

One of the best shows that you will ever see.


puts on one of the best shows that you will ever see. With vaudeville caliber theatrics, and a patented disregard for their personal well being (lead guitar Peelander-Yellow broke a foot last year jumping from a balcony) the band summons up vast reservoirs of the angsty energies that usually only issue from toddlers throwing tantrums.

Screaming from the first, endorsing their comic Japanese personas with comic Japanese accents, the post-punk punk band paint their few chord changes in the endless energy of their goofy namesake, frequently sticking fingers in noses, crowd surfing and harkening back to their past lives on planet Peelander.

Punctuating their performance with human bowling, a giant polyurethane squid and acrobatic music making from the rafters, Peelander-Z converts each crowd they play into disciples, drawing from even the most reticent bystander a huge Zorro style Z collectively traced in the air at the end of each set.

Highlights of the show include the songs ‘So Many Mike’ and ‘Ninja High School’, tunes whose lyrics are neatly summed up in their titles. Standing on the shoulders of his bass player, Peelander-Yellow calls out all the Mikes in the audience, makes them raise their hands, and leaping down, rips into his color coordinated guitar with the relish of a man who knows he’s right. There are so many Mikes.

In the end, Peelander-Z ride out of their performance on each other’s shoulders, exiting in to the hoarse adulation of their fans, returning momentarily to sell t-shirts, and then gone again into the night.

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