Treasure Mammal is one of those bands that you have to see live to fully understand. Words can only go so far to describe the performance art, interpretive dance, and random nods to pop culture that make up a Treasure Mammal show. This is the type of band you want to say represents the Phoenix music scene half in anticipation of a reaction, and half because it's fitting.
Shows at small venues like The Trunk Space, Last Exit Live, Meat Market Vintage, etc. do represent Phoenix culture, especially when a band as eclectic as Treasure Mammal takes the stage. Phoenix is kind of weird, and there's something special about watching a show with 20-40 other people.
The Trunk Space's intimate setting was the perfect location for Treasure Mammal to spread out and interact with its fans. The band set up on the floor next to the coffee bar, taking up about half of the room thanks to the talents of dual masked drummers Jef Wright and Jef Wrong.
A Claire Slattery slinked through the crowd to dance with audience members, as the Jefs drummed along to John Mayer's "Your Body is a Wonderland." Treasure Mammal frontman Abe Gil rallied the crowd together to touch hands in a sense that almost felt like a pre-show prayer, just with way more spandex.
"This song features Taylor Swift, even though she doesn't know about it," said Gil, as he screamed "we are never getting back together" over a song with a hip hop beat that featured fast drums a la "Black Skinhead." In the interim, A Claire Slattery did yoga poses in the middle of the floor.
Other Treasure Mammal shenanigans included the crowd sitting on the floor to sing along to a song about a summer bromance, and carrying a headless Santa Claus around during "Dream Girl," because who doesn't think of Ol' Saint Nick when they're ready to "bring it together like Pangea" in the bedroom?
Treasure Mammal's big finish involved eight people sitting on the floor to make a bridge, as the band paid homage to 311's "Amber" with a steel drum beat. Gil encouraged fans to crawl through the bridge, after doing it many times himself.
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Prior to Treasure Mammal's set, Snake! Snake! Snakes! put on the best show I have seen them play yet. The band no longer sounds like the smooth, clean-cut indie songs listed on Spotify--Snakes is now a noisy rock band. The vocals were heavily distorted and the music was guitar-heavy, the best comparison I could draw was Deerhunter's Monomania album.
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The other two acts were pretty different- touring musician Daniel Francis Doyle played a nice, solo acoustic set, while locals Bacchus performed raucous songs with horns and jokes about building their own internet with kids from third world countries.
Critic's Notebook: Last Night: Treasure Mammal at Trunk Space. Personal Bias: A Claire Slattery is a good friend of mine, yet somehow, this was my first Treasure Mammal show. The Crowd: A mix of friends and band members. It was a good turn out for a Thursday night show. Overheard in the Crowd: "They look like a dystopian version of Pee Wee's Playhouse," Adventureface's Ben on Bacchus. Random Notebook Dump: Daniel Francis Doyle is not John Francis Daley. Top 40 Songs with Arizona in the Title 9 Tips for Using A Fake ID To Get Into A Show Why Indie Band Oregon Trail Is The Hardest Game Ever The 30 Most Disturbing Songs of All Time