Walking into an Ezekiel Ox show is a funny feeling, you know what you’re going to get but also know that you’ve no idea what exactly you’re going to see. Such is the chaos of a Zeke live show.
Thanks to some typical Sydney traffic I missed the local support, instead walking in to the sounds of Horrorwood Mannequins. Having seen them before it instantly felt familiar, this wasn’t necessarily a good thing.
Even with Sydney legend Jonathan Devoy on drums, the focal point of HWM is vocalist Audri Medicate, who has a real knack for entertaining and irritating in equal measures. It says a lot about the set when the two most memorable parts were a Nirvana cover and a near fight between Audri and a punter who just wanted them to “PLAY SOME PRIMUS!”
Whilst the band seems to play with a lot of passion, a HWM show still feels like the sizzle far outweighs the steak.
With the crowd really filling out the limited floor space, Zeke and band entered the Factory stage to the sound of Kurt Cobain’s isolated Teen Spirit vocal, a fitting introduction to the punk rock attitude on display throughout the entire set. Accompanied by a more than capable backing band Zeke rips right in to Proper Ganda, the title track from his debut solo EP. Instantly the crowd is his, swooning over every shimmer, shuffle and stare (perhaps the most intense in the game) coming from the stage. Whilst the EP gets played in full, it’s his back catalogue that seems to be the real draw. Pulling ‘hits’ from all his past bands including Full Scale (Revolution), The Nerve and the much missed Mammal we’re all reminded what makes this material such essential listening. Full Scale’s Party Political sounding as important and relevant as it did over a decade ago.
Perhaps the biggest roars of the night came when Mammal material was played. Close enough? Hell Yeah and Burn Out being just a few highlights from a Mammal heavy set.
Whether it be writhing on a mic stand, bounding across the stage or running through the crowd embracing the entire crowd, Ox reminds us all that he’s one of the most important and exciting front-men this country has to offer and despite turning 37 (at this very gig), is showing no signs of slowing down.