Downtown Abbey: Peelander-Z at Rumba Café; topics discussed: plastic instruments, mosh pits, human bowling

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From the May 8, 2014 edition

Somewhere between the crowd surfing guitar solos and the audience-wide game of human bowling I thought, “This is what Yo Gabba Gabba would look like on acid.”

Japanese punk band/circus act/space aliens Peelander-Z and their cult following took over Rumba Cafe on Tuesday night, resulting in a riotous party that literally had the crazy spilling into the street.

It was only 9:40 p.m., but the party was already getting rowdy. The room smelled like sweat and adrenaline. Humidity hung so thick it was visible. Audience members crowded tightly around three band members in yellow, pink and green monochromatic space suits.

I should have better prepared myself for the insanity that was about to ensue. I wish somebody would have told me crowd participation was mandatory.

The band member in head-to-toe yellow started strumming a Ramones-leaning tune and yelling inaudibly into the microphone. The concert then transformed into a pep rally, as band members paraded signs with song lyrics across the stage, prompting audience members to chant in unison. Without warning, a snarling guitar riff screeched over the crowd’s chants, triggering a co-ed mosh pit directly in front of the stage. Peelander-Yellow didn’t miss a note as he shredded through a song, surfing atop the crowd preceded by an impressive stage dive.

Peelander-Green and Peelander-Pink handed out tins and sticks to audience members, as Peelander-Yellow searched for somebody to take over on guitar. A makeshift band of audience members played on stage as the colorful Peelanders began to set up bowling pins. Peelander-Yellow ran out the door and into the street, only to charge back at full speed to crash into the pins.

Throughout the performance audience members were pulled on stage, band members played jump rope and a giant limbo line was formed. The craziness culminated during the comedic rendition of “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” as performed by Pink Peelander. Her exaggerated cuteness bordered on saccharine as she bopped around in her striped tights and pink go-go boots. Everyone shamelessly screamed the words to the ’80s hit right along with the pixie-like performer.

I was simultaneously exhausted and exhilarated. Even though the show ended before midnight, I could only calm myself enough to sleep for a couple hours. Things got so weird for a Tuesday.