Nobunny, Cats in Heat, Video, Idiots
Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios in Denton
February 17, 2011
Better than: wearing pants.
By night, garage rock musician Justin Champlin goes by another persona, transforming, as he has for nearly a decade now, into Nobunny, a man in a bunny mask infamous for live performances filled with debauchery, chaos and near nudity.
And, on Thursday night, as Nobunny played at Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios in Denton, he had a phenomenal setting. With all the smoke and dim lighting, it was a perfect atmosphere for a band that has been described by plenty as "filthy."
But the set started out with the lead singer conspicuously absent, with the band smiling knowingly as the audience growing restless with anticipation. Then, after a few minutes of making the crowd wait, the band broke out into a thrashy garage punk set. And, somewhere in the middle of that first song, Nobunny bolted onto the stage.
His hair was matted and his bunny mask was secured tightly to his face. He wore nothing but an ill-fitting leather jacket and a pair of black briefs with handcuffs hooked onto the side. It was a look that was strangely attractive.
And the audience went absolutely nuts. What was previously some head-nodding and foot-tapping turned into a full-on riot. Audience members were jostled around like little pinballs, laughing and screeching all the while.
Onstage, even though he was impersonating a rabbit, Nobunny's antics were anything but tame. He writhed, shrieked and, at one point, executed a perfect backwards summersault onto the stage.
This was all within in the first ten minutes of his set.
After that it was down to business.
"Can you make the lights more romantic?" Nobunny asked venue operators, before imploring the women in the crowd to come up front of the stage for a song he dedicated to them. The romantic lighting seemed to have no effect on the energy of Nobunny's performance, though. If anything, he became more rambunctious, jumping up and down while waving his arms, as the rest of his band hammered out his music.
As audience became winded, the band revitalized the crowd by playing the opening riffs of Michael Jackson's "Beat It." Soon after Nobunny began singing along, though, it became clear that they were actually performing the "Weird Al" version, "Eat It," with Nobunny accentuating the chorus by grabbing and gesturing toward his manhood.
After this memorable and eccentric performance, Nobunny calmly thanked the crowd, and, quite simply, walked off stage. It was a surprising end to such a supercharged night.
All in all, it was quite the spectacle. And, by the end of the night, the audience was as sweat-soaked as Nobunny's underpants.
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Personal Bias: I love any and every show that involves people jumping around and pushing each other.
Random Note: Nobunny never actually used the handcuffs attached to his briefs. I can't help but feel disappointed that they were just for show.
By The Way: The lead singer of one of the opening bands, Video, was very unsuccessful in his attempt to crowd surf. He ended up falling to the floor, only to get up a minute later with his face smeared with dirt and cigarettes.