One actor and two musicians who a few years ago worked together in the Broadway production of Hedwig & the Angry Inch started jamming on some music. They wound up creating original material worth recording and releasing. This led to the formation of the avant-indie trio Princess Goes to the Butterfly Museum. 

Vocalist Michael C. Hall is the most recognizable member of the trio, having acted in the Six Feet Under and Dexter television series. Keyboardist Matt Katz-Bohen has been playing in Blondie and also worked with Boy George and Cindy Lauper. Drummer Peter Yanowitz began his career in the Wallflowers and worked with Natalie Merchant, Yoko Ono, Andrew W.K., Billy Bragg, and Wilco. Princess Goes to the Butterfly Museum released a six-song self-titled EP in 2020 and the full-length Thanks for Coming album on February 12.

Princess Goes to the Butterfly Museum was the last band to play at Mercury Lounge before the COVID shutdown, so the two-night encore performance in late October 2021 was a sign of a slow return to normalcy for the band. The trio’s experimental music was quite abnormal, however. Several times the musicians dug into a dance groove and then deliberately altered the arrangement to take the song left of center. Ambient soundscapes led to crashing cymbals. Talky vocals led to higher-pitched bridges. The songs never seemed to follow traditional lines. In many ways, the unorthodox approach to the crafts of songwriting and arrangements were bizarre, challenging, and even brilliant.

Half the songs performed were from the Thanks for Coming album, but as many as six songs were as-yet-unrecorded songs, possibly works-in-progress for a future album. Only two songs were from last year’s EP. The choice of songs suggested that Princess Goes to the Butterfly Museum is more directed towards the future than the past.

Princess Goes to the Butterfly Museum’s quirky music may be too eccentric for mass consumption. It could draw an underground of curious and adventurous rockers instead. Hopefully, the production schedule for Dexter: New Bloodwill not interrupt the trajectory of Princess Goes to the Butterfly Museum.

Photo by Everynight Charley

Setlist

  1. 3Offering
  2. Vicious
  3. Blur
  4. Nevertheless
  5. The Deeper Down
  6. Eat an Eraser
  7. Let It Go
  8. Sideways
  9. Airhead
  10. Angela Peacock
  11. Take Me Home
  12. Love American Style
  13. Tomorrow’s Screams
  14. Cruel World
  15. Thanks for Coming
  16. Come and Talk to Me

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