Mammal @ Ding Dong Lounge, Melbourne (03/11/2007)
When he has a mic in his hand, Ezekiel Ox is unstoppable and impacts audiences like a sledgehammer to an anvil. ‘Hell Yeah’ immediately rings over the crowd as Ox bolts through this crowd-mover, shooting out enraged lyrics with an integrity that screams from the depths of his belly. Twisting his torso and pacing the stage, body drenched in sweat, Ox is the ultimate frontman and is unabashed and relentless – whether it’s rolling through new tracks like ‘Haiku’ or setlist favourite ‘Inciting’, or debating ”(sit on my) facebook” and MySpace where you get more “bang for your no buck”. Hell, he even belts out a mean version of ‘Khe Sanh’ during a brief technical glitch too.
With six strings in his hand, Pete Williamson becomes dangerous. ‘Maker’ is where Pete takes centre-stage and he rips out bulky, oscillating riffs edged with a dash of distortion. The crowd are like putty in the hand, moshing during the track’s abrasion and Pete’s assertive precision. Switching from the limelight and partnering bassist Nick Adams for ‘Groove Junkie’, Pete exemplifies his presence as a seasoned musician with an honest rapport – time and time again.
Nick is at ease with four strings in his hand, bouncing around the stage and drifting in mid air. His cranium tilts for the eyes to close over in a chance to centre himself within the solidarity of his bottom-end grooves. Thumbing his strings with authority in ‘Two Soles’, Nick moulds a heavy tidal wave of back-end force. It’s here where mammal are authoritarian; an extremity of today’s Australian music.
Two stick are in Zane Rosanoski’s hand and resonate the organic undertow that makes mammal so strategic and rich. Zane’s bare chest contorts to the urgent rhythm of skins being beaten to the brink of their existence, underscoring the band’s control found in ‘New Breed Judas’. The snare is annihilated during Zane’s stripped back intro to ‘Think’, sounding almost like a working-class march to parallel Ox’s lyrical perception of a society regulated by capitalism, expectation and assimilation. Yet, the band reverts to its experimental nature when Jika’s Jeffrey Ortiz Raul Castro enters the stage for a tribal-inspired jam with his fellow band-mate.
Mammal is a band melded together by fate and purpose, resulting in a mindset that aims at challenging the status quo in a live setting. These are factors that inspire mammal’s vibrations and allow the band – at Ding Dong and any other stage they hit – to become one of the most unchallenged in the country.