Cut Off Your Hands and Fake Shark Real Zombie!: A great start to any week.

by Bob Pember

The Media Club saw one of its liveliest Monday nights on the 22nd thanks to Cut Off Your Hands and their opener Fake Shark Real Zombie!; both bands played for a sizeable and enthused crowd that took a break from the overly comfortable weather to appreciate some new music.

Fake Shark Real Zombie! started the night off with their own take on contemporary hard rock. Going with the same instrumental elements as Cut Off Your Hands (drums, bass and guitar), the Vancouver band is more developed in the heavier and louder elements of punk than the Auckland-based headliner.  Kevin Maher (lead vocals) eagerly belted out his spirited lyrics while managing to blend in some hip hop to the mix. Louis Hearn (guitar) sported an Angus Young signature Gibson SG (befitting of the ‘Back in Black’ interlude near the beginning of their set) that he was certifiably capable of pushing past its original rock n’ roll usage. With the steady backbone of Malcolm Holt ‘s drums and Parker Bossley’s aggressively directional bass piloting through their tracks, Fake Shark Real Zombie! blew out whatever dust might have been forming on the Monday night and got the crowd energized for the rest of the evening.

Though the lighter sound and ‘Clash-like’ melodies were a switch from the opener, as soon as Cut Off Your Hands came out it was clear how at home the band was on stage. It seemed like they didn’t have to think at all about their music—it just happened because they know it so well. Their live show was not a recreation of their album, but more of an example of what the songs really are in their true form, something a great deal of bands try for but don’t accomplish as quickly as Cut Off Your Hands have. With only the one LP to date, the set was a comprehensive showcasing of their catalogue that satisfied the dancing fans and even managed to inspire two female devotees to show their appreciation shirtless.

COYH - Press Shot5 (Credit Elizabeth Weinberg)

Once again, the single ‘Oh Girl’ stood out to me. The recorded version is by no means lacking, but the live performance seems to fit the song better. With the Beatles-style Rickenbacker guitar chopping out the rhythm the microphone couldn’t resist, and Nick Johnston crooning out the lyrics, there’s an extra emotional development to their show that goes further than their album.

I hung out with the band afterwards in a nearby condo downtown, and after talking with each of them I found that they are serious about the music they’re making while also having fun with it. Once this tour is over, they’re going to be back at work hopefully in the Fall on a follow-up LP to You & I. This I learned after watching them race remote control cars up jumps made from coffee table magazines. There’s a healthy ‘work’ and ‘play’ balance in the band’s dynamic, which comes through in both their recorded and live performances. This tour should expand their fan base significantly, and I’d expect to see them start hitting bigger venues next time around.

For information and tickets about upcoing shows, head to UQ Events.

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