Last week brought Animal Tropical & Freelance Whales, two very fresh groups, to Kungfu Necktie for a rollicking good time. Going in I knew very little about Animal Tropical - for example, that it's Ah-nee-Mal Tro-pee-Kal - so I was unprepared for the frenzied punkish energy this Miami quartet unleashes during their set. The abstract psych vibe of the music was punctuated by the most fabulous hand gestures by any performer I've seen, quite possibly ever. Despite a broken keyboard the lead singer kept the show going; delivering a unique vocal style I can only describe as a mix of scat and slam poetry. While that description denotes a degree of chaos Animal Tropical's brilliance lies is in their ability to put it out there and still maintain a sense of control. The full package melds a lot of influences and techniques together to create a very distinct sound and an incredibly pleasing live show. I'm eager for them to return so I can get another Tropical fix.
Freelance Whales, one of the rapidly trending bands on the east coast indie scene, brought their plucky troupe to the stage next. Playing pretty much anything they can get their hands on to create a hodgepodge symphony that, when layered under their dexterous lyrical stylings puts forth on hell of a mesmerizing show. As the groups members float around the numerous instruments on stage - changing location with every song - they maintained a consistant thread of tautly harmonized vocals. Hearing Freelance Whales perform live really brought a new weight to their stellar lyrics. While the music doddles between sweet and romantic to playful they manage to steer clear of the precious "twee" territory by keeping things simple and grounded. All five group members were having a good time with each other, which quickly spread into the crowd loosening a few hip shakes from the packed house. Working through most of the tracks on the new album Weathervane during their set Freelance Whales proved they are worth every bit of their buzz. They will be back on March 5th with Cymbals Eat Guitars and Bear In Heaven, get your tickets now.