Smashtastic. It's a word synonymous more so with cricket, but as I stood in the recesses of The Evelyn Hotel, this word kept bouncing around in my mind. Perhaps it appeared as a result of frontman Nicholas Mitchell's ever-present ability to occupy every inch of the stage. At one point, hanging from the rafters, guitar loosely slung over one shoulder, I discovered energy is not only reserved for Red Bull drinks.
High off the release of Eukaria on August 1st, this five piece outfit could unmistakably be a modern day Primus or Red Hot Chilli Peppers, masquerading as Brunswick musos. Guitar licks at times remind me of 'Tommy the Cat' circa 1991. Remember those days of rock? Where bass ruled and it was all about giving the punters a raw performance? Welcome to the world of Humans as Animals. I was promised theatrics and the band definitely delivered.
Humans as Animals, Fab Giacomelli and Hugh Christie
A quick chat to Fab Giacomelli before the gig found an enthused bassist, ready to show fans just what two years worth of producing and songwriting looks like. These guys are solid - if funk met rock in a bar and had a one night stand, Humans as Animals would be the result. Shelley Segal from True Music is one of the driving forces behind the band, her boyfriend is Andrew Robertson (guitarist, I'm secretly convinced he might've been an anonymous member of Soundgarden - it's that damn cool 'rock' hair) and herself, an accomplished singer\songwriter. Backing these guys was a sure-thing, they know how to light up a stage and deliver a full throttle live performance.
If you are into Californian rock bands, Mr Bungle [who interestingly hail from Eureka, California. Must be something in the name], Faith No More, NOFX and Strung Out to name a few, then Humans as Animals need to be on high rotation. You'll catch fragments of charged up 90's rock in their sound. When I spoke to Mitchell, he cited these outfits as being big influences, "all these kind of crazy musical experiments. Rob and I were playing punk rock when we were young, we've gotten a little bit better on our instruments!"
A little bit better has turned into an explosive and robust sound, "if there is anything we are going to do, it is to give you something you aren't hearing." Halfway through the set, an impressive horn section animatedly came blasting through, complete with members from support band The Purple Tusks. This brought the already highly punchy tracks like: 'Hang On', 'Her Name' and 'Bilack' to life. For me the standout song had to be 'Staring at the Ground' - a seductive and eerie build up of guitar and rhythm which was an improvised track written by Fab, depicting the humdrum and repetitiveness of his work as a concreter.
For punters in Melbourne, this band is definitely worth leaving the electric blanket and couch for. Grabbing a copy of their EP Eukaria is the next best thing, as their sound is polished, and highlights the bands diverse musical influences [they are also into John Zorn and hip hop]. In my interview with Mitchell prior to the launch, he was eager to unleash their EP onto audiences, 'the gig at the Evelyn, that is going to be awesome, everything is looking chipper, tight, we are getting a horn section in. We are going to go all out.' And that they sure did, I've had 'Her Name' and 'Left Me Behind' caught on a loop in my brain for days.