By Willow Grier
CALGARY — There’s a sort of chaotic magnetism surrounding Bad Animal. Reminiscent of the raucous tornado of a similarly named scruffy pink muppet, the band has burst onto the Calgary music scene and excited audiences with their distinct brand of hard-hitting arena rock compressed into a bar setting.
To be frank, this band would not be outpaced playing with Arctic Monkeys or Cage The Elephant. In fact, there is such a cultivated and distinct sound about them, it’s hard to believe they are only about to release their first album (it’s fantastic by the way).
In reality, some of the members had been making music together for quite some time when they were forced to pause during frontman Ben Painter’s battle with cancer. Not to be held down for long, once Painter was in recovery, his mind switched back to writing songs with long-time friend Marek Skiba. Currently, Bad Animal has come to include Skiba and Kyle Gritchen on guitar, Trevor Stoddart on drums, and Danny Trevena on bass.
When asked to describe the band’s sound, Skiba quickly conjures an analogy: “You know how Dean Martin would go onstage and he would be holding a drink but never sips it? It’s the swirl of the drink. And people are just thinking, ‘Aww damn that’s cool.’”
This quote is a pretty apt representation of what the guys are like in person: energetic, clever, and quick to answer.
To their credit, their fun-having ways ended up setting a record (while they recorded their album) at OCL studios… It was for drinking the most during a session. And this even went further when the proceeds from the bottles collected ended up saving a high school’s dance, whose fund-raising recyclables were tragically stolen. Bad Animal is all heart (and a lot of rosé).
Fun and games aside, however, the album they are releasing has a ton of great moments. Drawing from heartbreaking personal experience, to comic books, to dealings with the particularly vapid, the album is “a series of vignettes. Many different windows into different people’s lives,” as Gritchen describes.
But Painter says the band’s real merit is in their live performance. “It’s all about the energy. We want to go fucking insane, and leave it all on the stage… We really believe in what we have here.”
Maybe you’ll see Bad Animal “getting lost” in the woods by your house, or maybe you’ll see them melting faces in a crowded bar. Whatever the occasion may be, you can be sure that there will be an epic soundtrack to accompany them.
Catch Bad Animal’s album release at Broken City on June 17th. Also follow their “Get Lost” video series where they take acoustic versions of their songs to strange and sometimes uncomfortable places.AB, Alberta, Bad Animal, Broken City