: Out of some crazy comic book planet comes Peelander-Z, a band ready to save the day by simply blowing your mind -- not a hard thing to do if you have color-coded stage names, wacky outfits, a penchant for power pop punk rock, and fast and loud songs about tacos, ninjas, and S.T.E.A.K. Immediately singable tunes are one way to please a crowd, and Peelander-Z has so many due to their long run: the group formed in NYC in 1998. All Japanese ex-pats who found themselves in New York, or Peelander Planet if you believe the legend. Childlike fun and extreme talent can be a hard combination to master, and yet Peelander-Z does it. You need to get on their level -- so chug some sugary soda, get hella amped, and add some bright colors to your wardrobe before heading over to see this band. Prepare yourself for a fast and furious live show with screaming, yelling, and a whole lot of entertainment. They mix a love of comic book action with straightforward punk attitude, sweet guitar solos, crashing drums, and some ska rhythms here and there. The live show is almost too good to ruin with a preview, but (spoiler alert) expect audience participation, pro-wrestling nods, props, costumes, and most likely a stage dive, some rafter climbing, or one of the Peelanders to play atop the willing bodies of the crowd. And sweet, sweet music.
: Video games and Crashfaster go together like Skittles, Mountain Dew, and staying up far too late. This Bay Area band pumps out music that is so woven with chiptunes that they could be the backing band in an 8 bit dream. The live act consists of excellently programmed beats, superb drums, highly auto-tuned male vocals contrasting with rich, full female vocals. Crashfaster is an amazingly energetic live act that will get even the most self-conscious gamer onto the dance floor.
: Gnarboots is a trio with punk roots, a die-hard following of gamers and self-proclaimed nerds, and a creepy sense of humor. The band formed a few years ago in the petri dish that is San Jose -- and have had to work hard to buck their reputation as a joke band. Despite the fact that Gnarboots is fun and hilarious, these are serious musicians -- one of them even broke John Dwyer's guitar during one of his shows; that's pretty serious/rad/a happy accident! The fact that Mike Park of seminal punk label Asian Man Records took notice should prove that Gnarboots is real, and ready to make some devastatingly good tunes. It doesn't hurt that Adam was once in Bay Area punk group Link-80, either. They oscillate wildly on record: from chiptoons, to fun ska, to brutal yelling punk, to classic pop, to dark wave synth rock, and basically anything else they feel like -- which means who knows what you'll see at a live show! Recently the band has taken a pretty dark turn, so likely audiences will be treated to a masterfully woven live show of synth punk musings on mortality from the POV of a sad clown, with a few fun classics thrown in -- but with a band like Gnarboots who are known to do the unexpected, you can never be sure.