While scrolling through Netflix I was surprised to see there was a documentary about NYC-based cartoon-punk band Peelander-Z called Mad Tiger. I'd been seeing them when they came through town for about 15 years and casually followed their career (i.e. went to shows; never bought records), noting when drummer Peelander Blue (they go by color-coded names and outfits) returned to Peelander Planet and was replaced by Peelander Green, etc.
I've photographed their shows several times - you can see those shots here, here and here - and while they always had a theatrical/audience participation element to the band, over the years they tilted heavily into the show and the music itself became almost an afterthought as almost every song would break down into some sort of bit.
The surprising part of Mad Tiger is that it documents their final tour with Peelander Red as he was exiting the band in 2012. My last set of photos were from that tour and I had no idea Red had left. Other revelations were that the girl (Peelander Pink) who'd been around the latter tours as a keyboardist/hype woman/merch girl was Peelander Yellow's wife; that Red worked as a bartender and was quitting to get married himself and open a bar (which apparently happened without him; it's two businesses later according to Google searches and he's not mentioned in any stories); they imported another bassist from Japan (they're all Japanese ex-pats living in NYC) who lasted one show and drummer Peelander Green decided to quit, too.
All well and good, but the fundamental problem with Mad Tiger is that unless you are familiar with the band and its shtick, there is very little to grasp onto. We never see complete songs - merely impressionistic snippets from shows in an attempt to convey chaotic energy - and the way they dole out revelations about their private lives (the Yellow-Pink marriage is like whispering a state secret) and cover the band stifles any narrative flow.
By the end, you will know a few things about some aging Japanese fellows who had a band that eventually disbanded, though that's misleading as YouTube had videos of them playing in the past month with Pink now on bass (though one has another bassist on stage, too). While I learned some things, I didn't learn much more than trivia and those unfamiliar with the band will be perplexed as to why this movie exists.
Score: 6/10. For Peelander-Z fans only. (Everyone else, 4/10 - skip it)