It's always fun to watch a group's hometown tour-kickoff show. They’re much more of an event, with family and friends showing up to create an atmosphere that makes you feel like the entire venue is the backstage area (kind of like the club in A Night at the Roxbury). You’re pretty much guaranteed bonus banter and hijinks. On nights like these, record label owners man the merch table instead of mildly bored-looking girlfriends. This show was kind of both and neither. While NoBunny hails from the Bay Area, Burger Records (home of NoBunny’s as-of-now cassette-only Raw Romance and all the opening bands) is based in L.A. All the acts are hovering around SoCal for shows before dispersing to sew their wild oats on their various proper tours.
Of course, the first night also entails a potentially major caveat: un-preparedness. As I watched the opening acts work out their kinks with mixed results, I decided that an air of instability would probably benefit NoBunny more than anything else. We’re talking about a band, after all, whose frontman normally performs in his underwear and a bunny mask and who produce skuzzy power-pop with lyrical gems like “This little piggy wants to get an erection.” Instead of rolling with the relative sloppiness of the night and incorporating it into their persona the way Matt Schmalfeld from Audacity did in the prior set, NoBunny threw me for a bit of a loop when he not only acknowledged it but apologized and promised better results on Saturday. I’m all for consideration towards fans, but the two moments where I saw the cracks in their “don’t know, don’t care” façade were, in in this case, mildly momentum-sucking downers.
Otherwise, NoBunny comported themselves like the lovable rogue presented in “It’s True,” who has to convince us that despite all the bad things we’ve heard about them being true, they’d be good to us. I don’t know if it’s the mystique of the “secret identity,” natural charisma or just the simple sing- along power of the tunes, but NoBunny certainly elicits crowd response. If you go see them live, it’s definitely worth jockeying for a position in the first few rows, as most of the action will be going on out of your line of site. When he’s not rolling around or gyrating on his knees, he will be getting mobbed by people.
Just make sure you’re ready to see a grown man in a thong with a bunny tail.