Japanese born, New York based “action comic punks” Peelander-Z seem to make it to Nashville at least once a year these days, and that’s more than alright with us. Following an outing at SXSW, and presumably ahead of a new album (they’re due for one soon, as their latest LP, the more metal-influenced and aptly titled effort Metalander-Z, dropped in 2013), the band-meets-performance-art group are set to return to Music City tonight, March 24 for a performance at Exit/In with local punk group Blacklist Royals. If you’ve never seen a Peelander-Z show, then this thing should be mandatory, and if you’re one of the indoctrinated then you already know: there’s nothing else quite like it. Tickets are still available right here, so grab yours now and read on for details!
Peelander-Z are not an easy band to describe. They refer to themselves as “Japanese Action Comic Punk hailing from the Z area of planet Peelander.” That says more about their persona than their sound, and we’ll come back to that. Stylistically, the band play a pretty no-frills, fast, high-energy, old school flavor of punk rock, and, lately, metal. Their music is a lot of fun and it’s solidly entertaining, if not really boundary-pushing. The music isn’t the reason you HAVE to check out a Peelander-Z show though; it’s the show. Imagine one part Aquabats (and perhaps a bit of their brainchild Yo Gabba Gabba!), one part Power Rangers, and one part anime, blend that together, feed it some speed, and and take it to the weirdest Halloween party you’ve ever been to, and you’ve got the basic idea of a Peelander-Z show. The band perform in costume and in character, with an infectious energy and downright bizarre presence. They’re fun, hyperactive, engaging, and even for fans and non-fans of their music alike, their performance is an undeniable and unparalleled rush that’s impossible not to love.
Made up of twin brothers Rob and Nat Rufus, Nashville indie punks Blacklist Royals couldn’t be more different from Peelander-Z both musically and thematically, yet somehow, their spirit still fits this show, and they’re a great, local choice to warm up the stage. The duo relocated to Nashville ahead of their 2010 debut, Semper Liberi, following Rob’s unexpected battle with a rare form a cancer, and recruited additional members to fill out their lineup, subsequently hitting the road to tour with a host of high-profile punk bands and perform on the Warped Tour. Back to a duo by their followup, Die Young with Me, the brothers confronted Rob’s illness headfirst in song, and crafted a more mature, expansive, release that marks their best work to date. Rooted in pretty straightforward punk, Blacklist Royals draw elements from heartland rock, indie, and post-punk, the latter influence evidenced by their EP of Cure covers released last year. A hidden gem in the Nashville musical landscape, Blacklist Royals are a must-listen for any fan of quality punk.
Peelander-Z and Blacklist Royals will perform tonight, March 24 at Exit/In. The show is 18+, begins at 9 p.m. (doors at 8 p.m.), and tickets are available for $12.