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A damn good time

Planet Booty is a band with a silly name and a wild show

Dylan Germick fills the role of frontman with a lanky, untethered physicality. Photo credit: Facebook

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It's been pointed out by many people who think way too much about music, including me, that the steady adoption of ironic detachment among both bands and fans in the indie scene may have done some real damage when it comes to the environment of live shows. Beginning something around two decades ago -- depending on the genre and who you ask -- wallflowers and too-cool-for-school hipsters brought out the worst in each other, with those who are too shy to dance in public being met with those who aren't very interested in putting on a compelling, inclusive performance. A stalemate ensued, though cracks began to show with acts like LCD Soundsystem (to name one major example) working to reintroduce unapologetic fun back to alternative music.

As much as I lament this awkward middle ground we've found ourselves in, with no one quite willing to be the one to start the party, I'd be lying if I said that my own lingering ironic detachment hasn't made me part of the problem. There are plenty of acts and bands coming through these parts that are all too happy to put on some neon shades and get the dance floor bumping. Thing is, they tend to activate the part of my brain that recoils at what I perceive to be cheesiness and empty, somehow garish blandness. It takes a deft hand to sincerely embrace the role of a party band, while also taking the time to acknowledge the bone-deep absurdity of it all.

A band is coming through the Pacific Northwest that manages to find that sweet spot, and if you'd like to get an idea of where they're coming from, they call themselves Planet Booty. And yes, yes, I know just what you're thinking: this is not some parody act that exists to send up the mindlessness of the club scene; that would be simply more of the irony that's already left everyone on edge. Planet Booty is almost adorably pure, exploiting every joyous, wild avenue in the world of funk, R&B, electronica and dance. And yes, they can be pretty goofy, but at their heart, their deepest desire is to coax every single audience member into shedding every last ounce of insecurity in the interest of having a damn good time.

Based in Oakland, Planet Booty started turning heads as a six-piece ensemble, complete with horns and dancers, though it's now been pared down to a dialed-in trio that runs with a freight-like efficiency. At the core of Planet Booty (which sounds like it should be a movie from whoever did Emmanuelle in Space) is Dylan Germick, Josh Cantero and Rob Gwin. Germick and Cantero both take the vocal reins (as well as playing horns and keyboard), though Germick would most accurately be called the frontman.

And what a frontman he is, ending gigs soaked with sweat after an exhausting, full-body performance that sees him constantly in motion. Beyond the aerobics, Germick makes it a point to engage with the audience, trying his hardest to invite everyone to take part in the ridiculous revelry. There's a lanky, untethered physicality to Germick that helps to immediately relieve the tension in the room - once you see him throw himself so completely into songs with titles like "Sex is in the Air," "Das Booty," and "Freak Inside," the urge to shy away from dancing does seem like kind of a silly thing, indeed. With their new album Naked on the way, Planet Booty seem more committed than ever to cracking shells and inviting everyone to abandon fears of cutting loose.

Planet Booty, w/ HLZ PLZ, Nightey, 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 15, all ages, $3-$5 suggested donation, Le Voyeur, 404 4th Ave. E., Olympia, 360.943.5710, voyeurolympia.com

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