Late October in 2017 saw the reunion of one of Australia’s most renowned and significant contributors to the rock scene. This year saw the definite return and rebirth of the exact same alternative funk rock quartet that we all know by the name of Mammal. For years, the Melbourne-based four-piece have left a prominent mark on Australian music and continue to do so with what’s been in the works for the last year. Since late July, Mammal have been touring all across the country with Brisbane’s Osaka Punch and Melbourne rapper Fresh Violet in celebration of this massive occasion that became what was unquestionably one of the best Aussie gigs of the year.
Fifteen minutes after doors swung open, local rap talent Fresh Violet hit the stage, a highly adaptive and unique wordsmith on the mic. While crowd numbers were short and fell mostly towards the back, the crowd up front remained in high spirits to Violet’s dextrous flow and almost polyrhythmic delivery on tracks such as Gangsta, Breakfast, Lantern and even a sample of her work from her upcoming album, ’50 Shades of Violet.’ As a rapper performing in front of a vast majority of rock fans, she received a very lively and warm reception from everyone in the audience. This was a rather refreshing feature to add for a rock show; to have a bit of diversity in genres between acts, and this would be amazing to see occur more often.
Brisbanian legends Osaka Punch later got everyone grooving and gyrating to their Mr Bungle-esque complexion for the next 45 minutes. From there, Osaka Punch’s intoxicating grooves spread like wildfire across the Croxton with the likes of Stonk, Served with Mustard, How we Operate, Eat Red Carpet, as well as a sneaky cover of Salt N Pepa’s Push It. Jack Verables remains as one of the best vocalists in Aussie music, and truly brings some quirky showmanship to the table whenever he gets the chance to get up close and personal with the crowd. He would also announce to everyone who was drinking that, “It’s not a good night unless you regret it the next day.” It’s not just him though; guitarist Chrispy, bassist Brenton Page, and drummer Dane Pulverenti all showcased some super funky and comical personas as they implemented their set. There’s a lot about Osaka Punch that makes them such a standout and important band in Australian music, but the real way to capture the aptitude, entertainment and authenticity of them is to catch Osaka Punch in the flesh.
While many were convinced that a reunion and new music from Mammal were never in the works, by god, they sure surprised us when they made their epic return. Opening with Virtue Signalling and Nagasaki in Flames, Mammal already got the entire room full of 900 patrons swaying and singing to some of the most infectious dance tunes composed in rock music. All four members brought more than just energy and a fantastic performance. To this day, Ezekiel Ox remains a true aficionado of the stage as the alternative Metal equivalent to Jamiroquai both musically, and physically with his disco ball helmet and fluffy rainbow tie dye hoodie. He would occasionally crowd surf, jump into the pit and get everyone around him to dance, and even get up on a bar stool and sing to the likes of Hollywood Shrine, Community, Clear Enough?, Smash the Piñata and New Breed Judas. And of course, the night wouldn’t have been complete without the funky skank strumming of Pete Williamson, the ecstatic and groovy slapping on the four strings by Nick Adams, and the heavy pounding and beats from the sticks of Zane Rosanoski.
I’ve probably said this a lot in previous reviews in the last five years of doing this, but I’m pretty damn sure that Mammal, Osaka Punch and Fresh Violet provided what was most definitely one of the best live shows of the decade in Aussie rock history. Whether you’re familiar with the acts or not, it’s never too late to embrace the perfection that was witnessed by over 900 people that night at the Croxton. So, do yourself a favour and cop a ticket, or forever a miss an unforgettable evening with some of the greatest talents in this country.