I first saw Peelander-Z at Riot Fest Chicago in 2013. My friend had heard about them and thought it sounded like they would be fun. Well, that’s a huge understatement. If you can’t have fun at a Peelander-Z show, you’re probably the kind of person who would rather stay home and sort socks. In fact, we loved their Riot Fest set so much we skipped the headliner and caught their after-show at a small club later that night. I knew I was in for a treat on this cold November night.
So for the uninitiated, let’s back up a bit. What do we know about Peelander-Z, besides the fact that they are awesome? According to their website, they come from the planet Peelander. The members present Friday night were Peelander Yellow, Peelander Pink and Peelander Green. I’ve seen Peelander Purple before but he wasn’t around Friday night.
The band is heavy on audience participation, even though they apparently don’t speak English too well (they are from a different planet, after all). This means they rely heavily on sheer energy, limited lyrics and gestures to communicate what they want the audience to do next.
The general flow of a Peelander-Z show is they will introduce a song by chanting the a few times so the audience gets it, then they will do some crazy stuff and finally, launch into the song. The crazy stuff can include stage diving while the other band members play, climbing on someone’s shoulders to sing at an extended microphone, pulling random audience members on stage to play their instruments, or coming down from the stage to lead the audience in a limbo contest, like Peelander Yellow is preparing to do here:
The show Friday night was a lot of fun. It was one of the first really cold nights, so the crowd wasn’t too large but the people who were in attendance were very enthusiastic. That said, it can be harder to coordinate a smaller crowd than a larger one, especially when many were seeing Peelander-Z for the first time. This meant Peelander Yellow took more time trying to communicate to people what he wanted them to do but he ultimately got his point across. They sure seemed like they were working hard, whereas the previous shows I saw they were able to relax more and enjoy a crowd that knew where Peelander-Z was taking them.
If you ever get the chance to see Peelander-Z, don’t miss them. It might look a bit insane (it is) but if you just enjoy the mayhem it will possibly be the most fun you will ever have at a show.