The members of Oakland’s electro-funk/R&B trio Planet Booty are relieved they can finally tour again. And from what they’ve seen so far, their fans feel the same way. Audiences are ready to dance hard to the group’s funky—at times ridiculous—dance party with songs like “Ride That Booty,” “Take Off Your Pants,” and “Junk in the Trunk.” On Nov. 27, they will bring the sexy show to the Catalyst.
A Planet Booty show involves a lot of sweat, a lot of grooving, and normally some space-invading—though not everyone is comfortable getting too close right now, what with the pandemic and all. But frontman Dylan Germick says that not only are their audiences dancing, but people also don’t seem to want to let the show end—something he doesn’t remember happening in the “before times.”
Indeed, the group’s vibe is perfect for people stepping outside of their quarantine fog. It’s all about enjoying good music, getting loose, and unabashedly loving yourself no matter what.
“We’re here to party, be sexy and ridiculous. But we’re like, ‘Let’s acknowledge the hurt, pain, death, the anger, and the angst,’” Germick says. “There’s been a lot of negativity bearing down on our souls and our mind-state. We’re trying to find a moment of joy—just say ‘yes.’”
This word, “yes,” is a big deal for the group right now; they even named their new album Yes. Everything that matters to them right now is encased in these three letters.
At the beginning of 2020, they were looking at their most expansive international tour to date. It felt like they were on the verge of taking things to the next level. Once all the shows were canceled, that word “yes” popped in their mind and they decided to do something productive: record the kind of album they would never be able to do while relentlessly touring.
Since its 2011 inception, Planet Booty has primarily been a live experience. Albums were often an afterthought. And a lot of consideration was given to how they could perform the recorded songs live. With nothing but time on their hands and no clear idea whether live music was ever coming back, they threw out their old playbook and made the kind of album they wanted to hear, enlisting as many guests as possible, including Flynt Flossy, Sarah Clarke, TWRP, Brian Wecht and others.
“People don’t necessarily think of us as a studio band. Whenever people see us live, things make sense. They feel the feeling, the release. Then they leave going, ‘I love Planet Booty,’” Germick says. For this album, we want to match the energy, the prowess, the technicality, all the stuff that we tried to do live, we wanted to put that in. We wanted to match the impact of the live show.”
The group started as a six-piece funk band that would invade Bay Area bars with as much absurdity as they could muster. A few years in, they scaled down to three members. They started playing more all-ages shows by 2016/2017 with TWRP and Ninja Sex Party, and noticed underneath the craziness and sexuality of their show, a lot of younger people in the LGBTQ+ community resonated with their sex-positive, albeit silly at times, message of self-acceptance.
“We are coming from the party scene where it’s like debauchery,” Germick says. “We started to notice, it wasn’t so much about the party, booty stuff that people really loved.”
In fact, the group’s serious 2017 song “Not Afraid,” which is about confronting anxiety and fear, is their most popular. It has the most plays on Spotify, and at shows the group is usually greeted with a crowd full of people singing along to it at the top of their lungs.
The group continues to refine its message. “Only if You Say Yes” makes it clear they stand for enthusiastic consent. And now, in the post-pandemic world, they are hoping to help people rediscover the joys of loving their bodies.
“I’m not like ‘Planet Booty is the answer,’ but I’m just like, ‘We need to find a reason to sing, and dance and feel joy, because we will die from the inside,’” Germick says. “All this stuff is a vehicle to break you down and make you smile.”
Planet Booty will play at 9pm on Saturday, Nov. 27, at Catalyst Atrium, 1101 Pacific Ave,, Santa Cruz. $15/adv, $20/door. (831) 713-5492.