At the dawn of the millennium, nu metal was king and from the fiery crucible of the Perth scene came a slew of acts poised to take on the world. At the forefront was Full Scale led by vocalist Ezekiel Ox, a powerhouse performer that in any incarnation commands attention from his energetic stage presence, operatic vocals and political commentary. After the disbanding of Full Scale in 2006 came a slew of projects for Ox, none more notable than Mammal, a finer tuned, more mature, more aggressive though funky and outspoken group, in many ways an evolution for Ox. The band had only a short, but mighty existence playing and touring until 2009 when they announced their breakup.
In 2017 Mammal released a statement that they would be reforming for a slew of shows and a 2018 tour, and have since released two new singles, Community and Virtue Signalling. It had been a long wait for Perth to get their Mammal fix but finally after eight years the band were back with Melbourne rapper Fresh Violet and funk metal group Osaka Punch to rip the roof off The Rosemount Hotel.
In what was a different choice for a rock concert, rapper Fresh Violet opened the night’s proceedings. You could almost feel the crowd shy away as no one was quite prepared for it – that was, until she started with Adrenalin Rush, Different and Gangsta and showed the ignited revellers just why she was picked to be on tour.
With a style reminiscent of Lady Sovereign and all the attitude, Fresh Violet won the audience over. “I’m loving the adlibs! Just keep it up!” She ended her set with Natural Born Killers, Breakfast and Northside. Fresh Violet is a lot of fun, does not take herself too seriously and is seriously talented.
As the theme song to Baywatch started, there were a few puzzled faces in the audience from those that had not seen Osaka Punch before and massive grins from the long time fans. They opened their frenetic set with Slink/Stonk, Served With Mustard and Make The Call.
By the time they finished with Actibreeze, Battleworm and Electric Jam On Boogie, they had won those with puzzled faces over and gained new fans. Osaka Punch is the kind of band that you listen to (or even better – watch their music clips) when you are feeling down, angry or frustrated because their music is guaranteed to improve your mood tenfold and leave you feeling so much better about the world.
Mammal came onstage poised in a diamond facing drummer Zane Rosanoski as he thundered into the epic Nagasaki in Flames, Ox dressed in traditional Mammal buffalo headwear. Something amiss with the bass, and Ox quickly stopped the song short. “We aren’t starting our first Perth show in 8 years without Nick!” The false start seemed to add more intensity because when it came good it was absolutely thundering.
Fresh single Virtue Signalling was next and received the same response from the crowd as an old favourite, keen to reciprocate the energy displayed on stage the audience was not about to let this chance to rage with Mammal slip by.
Ox paid homage to the Perth crowd stating that he was originally from Perth, Mount Lawley but quickly quipping, “Since when did a coffee cost $7?” Appearing back onstage with a t-shirt printed with “I will never play in Mammal again – Ezekiel Ox”, joking at the irony.
Majority was a crowd favourite. The intensity of this band is what makes them stand out from the rest, every player is giving 110% led by Ox who is giving 150%. Bass player Nick Adams is always on the move with his bass slung high he is able to slap and pop whilst striding and grooving around the stage, drummer Rosanoski is a freight train, his impressive style clearly visible behind his low set kit, and guitarist Pete Williamson holds it all together with his tight heavy riffage.
Then came the trademark Ox move as he made his way to the bar to climb atop to bust out Mr. Devil, asking the crowd for a beer, a request that was gladly accommodated. Opening act Fresh Violet was invited onstage for a quick rap during The Maker.
Another costume change for Ox saw him donning a mirrorball helmet. The band powered through Smash The Piñata and recent single Community.
Inciting got everyone excited before Ox proclaimed, “I’ve only got one question left, can I get a HELL YEAH!” before launching into the finale of Hell Yeah. The band gave their all and Ox evoked the crowd into “hell yeah!” chants and fist pumps.
Although it was a set heavy with their best material, it was over in a flash and I was hoping for an encore which didn’t come. Then again, the best shows are sharp, sweet, to the point and leave you wanting more.
KAREN LOWE & ANTHONY JACKSON
Photos by Karen Lowe