Review: Nobunny @ Adelaide Hall – Toronto

How do I even describe the wild experience that is Nobunny? Honestly, most of me just wants to write “I have no words” and just leave it at that. Go see them; figure it out for yourself. But that would make for a pretty useless piece of writing, so I won’t do that.

There is something magical about Nobunny and how they present themselves. Or, I don’t know, maybe it’s just that black pair of underwear that has the magic in it. I watched some interviews with Nobunny, and in every interview Justin Champlin is wearing the same black pair of underwear. It just makes me wonder if he ever washes them. It wouldn’t surprise me if I found out that he never had. At one point during the set – and I’m not sure why this happened – he pulled his underwear down and stood there staring at his junk for a few seconds, then let this huge gob of spit fall from his mouth into the underwear. It was gross. It was really gross… but amazing at the same time.

So, maybe it’s the underwear, or the masks, or the amount of ass and thigh that is visible on stage, or the incredible punk tunes, or the general demeanor of the band. Or it could have been setting the symbols, and later on the stage (accidentally) on fire. I’m not too sure what it was, but something about that show is magic. Nobunny started with a song called “Your Mouth”. Justin Champlin came out on stage before the rest of the band and sang acapella for a little while. I’ll never forget what those first few minutes of the set were like to watch. “Lollypops and kisses, your mouth” were the first words sung from the stage. It was so beautifully disturbing and creepy to watch this guy in a bunny mask you would see in your nightmares, with his ass and thighs just being out there, singing a song that’s tune reminded me of the opening song to Barney the Dinosaur. There is a child somewhere who’s worst and most triggering fear is this show.

But oh, how worth it it was. Champlin totally commands the stage. He’s very eccentric in his movements and watching him is mesmerizing. The other members of Nobunny were no slackers. It was always a fun scene when I looked on stage, no matter where I focused my attention. This was whenever I had attention to give, and wasn’t being thrown across the room by the people around me. I came out a little bruised but mostly unscarred, somehow. No broken bones, so that’s good. Sometimes Champlin jumped down into the crowd. I liked the way he carried himself when he did. It was like he was walking amongst his minions.

I’m not sure what else I can say. The music is great, but I have a feeling Nobunny are one of those bands where seeing them live is just the better way to appreciate them. Listening to the albums “Love Visions” and “Raw Romance” when I came home later that evening, outside the context of the live show I had just witnessed, was honestly a bit disappointing. The way the recordings are really doesn’t match with how the material sounds live. I realize a lot of that is due distinction to the difference in volume, but the recording style is also different. More stripped down.

Go see this band; they are insane. You can take that statement as literally as you determine is appropriate.


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Review by Thea McKay

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