BEING THERE: Nobunny @ Johnny Brenda’s



According to a recent unscientific survey I conducted out of sheer boredom while waiting for the show to begin, there were 85% more people rocking denim jackets, punk rock pins and Doc Martens at Johnny Brenda’s last night than then there usually are. Why? Best I can tell it was because Nobunny — a super-catchy, freaky-but-loveable Tuscon collective of garage-rockers who perform in thrift store bunny costumes — was headlining. You see, Nobunny mainman Justin Champlin is known to rock the denim-jacket-with-punk-rock-pins-and-no-pants look. It probably would have bothered me less if the only person from the crowd who I had a remotely friendly interaction with wasn’t some denim-jacket wearing dude sitting at the bar who asked if I was sure that I didn’t want him to buy me a drink. I was sure. I was there to sit in silence and mourn the loss of the garland of tiny skeletons that once hung from the bar lights, not to get boozy and talk about our favorite Philly punk bands. We obviously didn’t share an understanding of the circumstances. Mercifully, Nobunny and his band took the stage at about that point. While each member wore some rendition of a garbage-picked rabbit costume, Nobunny opted for a black pair of briefs, a leather jacket and a white tee that barely covered his pot belly. A bundle of fresh carrots was tied to each microphone, seemingly the only thing onstage that seemed to have been in the vicinity of soap and water in the recent past. Nobunny hooked the collective lip of the eager crowd with an acapella version of “Your Mouth,” conducting their singing with a carrot, and reeled them in tightly by cueing the band to pick up the pace. With freshly-painted ruby red fingernails, Nobunny began to strum his electric and hop around the stage, as rabbits are wont to do, and the crowd went ballistic. Throwing each other towards the stage to catch the nibbled on carrots band members tossed into the crowd, they bounced around like a bunch of happily flopping fish. At one point, I took a seat on the side of the stage when I noticed a fallen carrot next to me. I passed it to a guy in the crowd, which was sort of like feeding animals at a petting zoo. Less afraid of ingesting E. coli than I was, he took a mean bite out of the carrot like it was the peak of badassery in his life. As you might have guessed, he was wearing a denim jacket. Sweaty and pants-free, as per usual,  Champlin kept the audience moving, kicking his legs up and throwing himself down on the stage while unleashing a torrent of shrill, bucktoothed vocals. The crowd was clearly familiar with Nobunny’s back catalog, singing along to every word, not just on the mega-hits, but the deep cuts, too. At one point, Nobunny’s drummer lit a cymbal on his kit on fire, which was almost certainly in violation of the fire code, but no one seemed to care. — MARY LYNN DOMINGUEZ