Spoiler alert; PPL MVR are insane.
Upon sinking into the jam-packed crowd at the opulent Bardot Lounge in Hollywood, it became apparent that something was in the air aside from the looming second hand, cancer inducing cigarette smoke that slowly wafted out of the pseudo open air venue. From the right angle the venue plays host to a view of the historic Capital Records building. There was a palpable buzz around the picturesque venue about who the fuck PPL MVR actually are outside their masks, the platform boots, the fur, the lack of vowels, the names (SNWBLL, HNGRY Q, K-PO); who the fuck is this band? My attempts of digging through Reddit threads and YouTube comments speculating that PPL MVR might be Brand New’s latest side project left me doubtful at best. Also dead-ended were my attempts to eavesdrop the “in the know” pre-set chatter from self acclaimed Hollywood music producers and their assorted entourages.
I decided to say fuck it and let the experience of PPL MVR wash over me from a virgin perspective. I was ready to have their lustrous, riff driven, melodically auto tune induced cuts break though my venerable hymen. Standing front row and dead center, armed with nothing but a camera and a budding curiosity, I was ready for this shit to kick off. I overheard an anxious follower of the band evangelize to his girlfriend that PPL MVR was worth the 11:30 PM Monday night start time, to which she reluctantly obliged. After a long sound check operated by two dudes wearing Ghostbusters-eque uniforms appropriately labeled with “PPL MVR” patches, the anticipation was finally over. Lead singer, SNWBLL and the rest of the interstellar “monsters” angrily wandered onto the stage as if they had just been let out of their cave after a protracted and cold winter. Rhythm guitarist, Joey Barba, clad in his civilian Ghostbusters outfit had the task of leading the three restless creatures to their respective instruments. It was obvious that PPL MVR’s gimmick was barbaric at best and their restlessness towards mere homo sapiens escalated throughout their beguiling 30 minute set.
In the first seconds of the opening song, I stuck my camera straight into the face of SNWBLL; a move that was not appreciated. SNWBLL looked at me dead in the soul, swung his guitar at my face, missed, kicked his monitor savagely in my direction and continued hammering his guitar like a fucking yeti version of Tony Iommi. My PPL MVR hymen had been officially shattered.
Their set continued whilst heads banged. Looking around in the audience, my eyes were met with nothing but astounded looks of ‘what the fuck’ and ‘fuck yes’. It was hard not to note the contrast between their prominent, savage look and their alluring melodies, which were paired with the heaviest guitar riffs monsters have constructed since the passing of GWAR’s Dave Brockie, RIP.
PPL MVR closed with their debut single “People Mover”, which was received by cheers from the wall-to-wall crowd. PPL MVR won the room over, this much was obvious. While I exited the venue with “People Mover” replaying over and over in the back of my head, I couldn’t help but hear a guy proudly sporting a PPL MVR shirt say; “I got kicked so hard in the chest; that was fucking awesome!”
Words and Photos: Justin Thomas