I remember the euphoric sense of freedom I felt the first time I saw Planet Booty perform at Oakland’s Starline Social Club. Leaning against a pillar, I watched the already fervent crowd cry for more as the electro-funk R&B trio exercised their right to funk. By the end, frontman Dylan Germick stood smiling before the rowdy mob in his tiny, sparkly underwear.
I wasn’t sure what just happened. But somehow, I had circled the dance floor and by the time it was over I was sweaty, breathless and fiendin’ for a little bit more.
I’ve seen most hometown gigs since that night — each time bringing someone new and watching them ease into the jovial grind-fest. A Planet Booty experience is raw, wild and infectious but it’s also meticulously put-together. It’s the soulful Otis Redding-inspired notes; the synchronized-dancing horn section; the passionate harmonies; the heavy bass; and the band’s guest artists, like San Francisco dancers The Mothers of Pearl, that make it special. It’s fun as hell, but it’s also performed with intention.
Perched on a bench on Lake Merritt, Germick told me a little more about Planet Booty’s evolution and how they strive to connect with people in a meaningful way. Springing to his feet and throwing his hands in the air, a smiling Germick expressed his love for his bandmates, the passion they share for bringing joy to listeners, and his hopes of making music for the rest of his life.
“Planet Booty is about love, respect, space and being who you are. Everything we do comes from the heart,” he said. “When you’re clear on what you love, other people can see it and feel it. It’s about stripping everything away and being your best self.”
Originally conceived by Germick and his brother, Planet Booty is now the three-man band it is today — with Germick on vocals, trumpet and beats, Josh Cantero on vocals, keys and trombone and Rob Gwin handling percussion and bass. The group is currently releasing a digital single every month until their newest album, Naked, is fully released in August. After playing South By Southwest and nearby cities earlier this year, they head out on the second leg of their Naked Tour Aug. 11, first touching down in Oregon.
Whether they play a honky-tonk in Dallas or a show in Oakland, fans tend to get down to new tracks — like “In My Life” and their newest release, “Sex is in the Air” — just as much as the oldies, which include my personal favorites, “FUTURESWEAT,” “Treat My Body Right,” “Freak Inside,” and “Take Off Your Pants.” At the end of the day, all Germick cares about is playing more, rousing a crowd and consistently getting better.
“I want people to say, ‘That was a fucking show, man’.”
Celebrate the skin you’re in
Dylan’s always been comfortable in his birthday suit. His mom still teases him about flashing an old neighbor as a toddler, wearing just little red rubber boots, before screaming and running away. His mom also introduced him to performance and music — she took the family to their first Prince show and encouraged the kids to act out skits in celebration of “Festivus.”
“Prince gave me a gift,” Germick said. “Living life and understanding how to wade through emotions and love, to feeding yourself, and surviving the day is hard enough. To then make [music] for other people? I feel so lucky. And it’s what I want to do for other people . . . to make someone feel a fraction of how [Prince made me feel].”
Also inspired by Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic, Germick later discovered Chicago’s house, club and booty music like DJ Funk and DJ Michael BOOGALOO Boyer. The combination gave birth to Planet Booty’s lyrics and sound, which push people to defy society’s standard of beauty and embrace their sexiness.
“Personally, I’ve grown and learned to accept myself through making music,” said Germick, whose known for wearing outrageously vibrant suits before stripping them off piece-by-piece. “I’m preaching what has happened to me through Planet Booty.”
Sometimes you dance. Sometimes you laugh. And sometimes you catch yourself blissfully disconnected to your own reality and completely submerged in the thick, enthusiastic joy that pours off the stage. Every time, you’re glad you came.
‘Help us make you feel good’
Planet Booty is determined to create a safe space for everybody, and get weird in the process. They inspire people to move their bodies and love wholly. There’s no tolerance for hate, discrimination or judgement. And they rely on the support of their fans to continue making funk super fun.
The band is self-managed, promoted and produced, meaning all three bandmates spend their free time marketing their craft. After reaching their Kickstarter promotional campaign’s goal last year, the band has spent months trying to make Planet Booty a household name.
“That’s the challenge of it all,” Germick said. “I love all of this. I want to make as many human beings happy on this planet as I can. I want to get people in touch with themselves and feel good about themselves . . . The more I do this the more I can never let go of any of it.”
Planet Booty: www.planetbooty.org.
Upcoming Tour Dates
Aug. 11: Bomb’s Away, Corvallis, OR
Aug. 12: Hi-Fi Music Lounge, Eugene, OR
Aug. 13: River City Saloon, Hood River, OR
Aug. 15: Le Voyeur, Olympia, WA
Aug. 16: Nectar, Seattle, WA
Aug. 17: The Liquor Store, Portland, OR
Aug. 19: Symbiosis Eclipse Festival, Big Summit Prairie, OR