Mad Tigers manifest mayhem at The Mansion

The only thing rivaling Peelander-Z’s extraterrestrial live show is their driving riffs and resonating drums

Japanese born, NYC dwelling Peelander-Z are a self-proclaimed action comic act who defy gravity and smash pre-conceived notions of what punk looks like.
Japanese born, NYC dwelling Peelander-Z are a self-proclaimed action comic act who defy gravity and smash pre-conceived notions of what punk looks like.
Credit: 
Supplied
Whether it’s a mascot, monster or mutant is unclear but the Red Akaika makes an appearance at each show.
Whether it’s a mascot, monster or mutant is unclear but the Red Akaika makes an appearance at each show.
Credit: 
Supplied

I can say without a shadow of doubt, nothing could have prepared me for the band I encountered Sunday night at The Mansion. Not even hearing them described (accurately I might add) as a “Japanese Action Comic Punk Band from NYC.”

A large crowd was drawn and the gig started out familiarly with the raw energy of locals Agpak Mum and the always eclectic and intense Owl Farm. Thanks to the strong opening sets the audience was raring to go by the time Peelander-Z took the stage.

To say the members put on a complex stage show would be a huge understatement. Hand-written cardboard signs, colour coordinated Power Rangers-esque costumes, human bowling and audience participation gave attendees no choice but to be immediately psyched. The audience packed to the front of the stage taking in the driving punk of the Japanese born, NYC based trio and people made eye contact with excited disbelief, mesmerized over what transpired.

The group has a mind blowing back-story and made waves this year with appearances at Bonnaroo, CMJ and SXSW. It makes sense that their aesthetic is so other-worldly.

As the story goes, Peelander-Z are aliens from the Z-area of the planet Peelander. I started to believe it when their bass player suddenly bopped through the crowd donning a huge tentacled squid-guitar costume they affectionately refer to as Red Akaika.

Guitarist Peelander Yellow (Kengo Hioki), bassist Peelander Red (Kotaro Tsukada) and drummer Peelander Green (Akihihiko “Cherry” Naruse) banded together in 1998 and boast a six album catalogue including their most recent, P-Pop-High School.

They were joined on stage, floor, tables, ceiling and chairs by Peelander Pink (Yumi) a hype-girl, dance captain and dealer of pots, pans and drum sticks for audience members to join in on the garage jams.

The bizarre but entertaining stories and explanations accompanying the band know no bounds. On top of needing to “eat smiles,” they insist their costumes are skin and that only kind-spirited people can see the elusive Peelander Pink. A fourth member, Peelander Blue no longer plays with the band as he was forced to journey back to Peelander to fulfill his role as king.

The down to earth version? His upcoming marriage got in the way of the band’s increasingly grueling tour schedule.

Prompted by signs, the crowd chanted along, “medium rare!” to tracks like “S.T.E.A.K.” and the catchy standout track, “Mad Tiger”. Yelling, whistling and wall shattering dance moves prevailed, hitting a climax when the group held up signs splashed with “Drummer Needed” and “Bassist Needed,”and consequently turned over their instruments to audience members.

Piggy-backs and crowd-surfing had people losing their minds like in the mosh pit of a high school punk show—but one with a conga line.

One of the band’s DIY signs summed up the vibe of the show perfectly with a scrawled “Don’t Think, Feel.” Yes, outlandish props and quirky theatrical additions are a central component of the show, but Peelander-Z can bang out the tunes. On their website they gushed over their Canadian tour.

“We had such an amazing time there! Thank you all who came out to our shows! Hopefully we’ll be back to Canada next year! We already miss you all!” It’s safe to say we already miss them too.

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