SXSW 2009: Nobunny makes me feel funny

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I don't know who Nobunny is. I don't know if anyone knows who Nobunny is. When he performs, a sweaty, dirty, matted rabbit mask covers his face, and apparently he has a tendency to kind of just disappear after his sets. Aside from the mask, he doesn't wear much else. Today at the Scoot Inn, kind of a haul if you're used to just milling around Sixth Street, he played with a loud jumpy band on a small stage in the corner, starting off the set wearing a pair of opaque black panty hose (no shirt) and eventually stripping down to just a pair of pink briefs, allowing the sweat to flow freely down his tattooed calves. (His band kept their jeans and t-shirts on.)

It was disgusting, totally disgusting, and more than a little creepy. The whole mask thing would be weird enough if it was fresh from the box, all white and precious and new, but there is no telling where that thing has been and what kind of body fluids it has sopped up and what it must smell like. But the guy behind the mask just happens to write some really great garage rock that's just about as catchy as he is gross. The lyrics were mostly indecipherable as he gyrated about, crouching semi-seductively at the edge of the stage and rubbing himself up against a mic stand, but his band and a bunch of the small crowd sang and shouted along and threw themselves around, too.

Would anyone have been there if not just to see the crazy, nearly-nude guy in the bunny mask? I don't know. I might not have, to be honest. And maybe neither would have the two little girls standing in the back with their parents, wearing store-bought bunny ears and looking up at the onstage proceedings with wide, rapturous eyes. After the show, when the merch was brought out and set up in one corner, their mom bought them one of No Bunny's albums on vinyl, which the younger of the two girls-- all of three years old-- clutched to her chest like a teddy bear. "Nobunny?" she kept asking. "Can we see Nobunny?" One of Nobunny's bandmates explained that sometimes Nobunny likes to take a break by himself after he plays, but maybe she would get to meet him. "Nobunny?" she said again.

Someone brought out a camera and had the two girls, the older of which was no more than 6, pose for a shot for Nobunny himself. "Say 'Nobunny loves me!'" the bandmate instructed. The girls obeyed, waving at the camera, their own bunny ears wobbling. "Nobunny wuvs me!" Creepy creepy. But then again, my own animal obsession as a three-year-old was Sharon, Lois & Bram's Elephant Show, which apparently was pretty weird in its own right, so who am I to judge? These kids will probably be deaf before they're 11, but ah, what sweet memories.

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