SYN Features: Crocodylus 26.06.2018
CROCODYLUS live at The Tote, Melbourne.
Words by Imogen Hanrahan.
Crocodiles don’t make too much noise, and if you are ever close enough to actually hear them, you are either at a camp tour of a crocodile farm in Far-North Queensland, or you are about to be very dead. Not sure which is worse. Crocodylus, on the other hand, are a garage rock outfit with all the attack of their scaly counterparts but minus the actual bite.
It can all seem unassuming to the unfamiliar. The band has a simple setup – vocals, guitar, bass, drums. Josh Williams, Stephen Sacco and Mikel Salvador are three high school friends. They’re described as fun and carefree. Give them a listen, and you will see why they’ve burned through about a thousand gigs and supported names like Hockey Dad, ORB and Skegss. Two years, two EPs, and a whole lotta love from radio stations and music features later, their spitfire energy is catching on around the nation.
‘My Love’, the band’s single released at the end of March, is why everyone’s ears are burning right now. It’s that catchy song that would play during your most euphoric moment at a beach party. It’s also the reason SYN caught a glimpse of the beast that is Crocodylus during their Melbourne live show.
The rowdy trio broke onto The Tote’s stage for the finale of their three show ‘My Love’ tour after beginning in their hometown of Sydney. It’s hard to admit the new love of a band to yourself, especially when they hail from Burn City’s rival, but Crocodylus are worth the self-doubt.
The word was that their show would be nuts. After Saturday’s show, that can be confirmed. Watching the trio of aggressive surf rockers is like being trapped in a croc’s death roll: the world is spinning, you have no idea know what’s going on, and you can’t stop moving until they do.
“Sold out? How’d that happen?” You tell me, Crocs. Either they are humble about their exponential success, or they are just a group of guys playing music they love and it happened to catch on. The band blasted through numbers from their previous EPs but really kicked it off with ‘Rake’ from their first 2016 EP, Bummed Out.
A deceptively calm and clean intro before launching at breakneck speed into absolute chaos, ‘Rake’ is the perfect song to introduce the band. Sacco’s switch between Morrissey-esque verses and primal screams of “RAKE” set the scene for a swampy moshpit that flowed like a living organism. The constantly changing tempos showed off their talent as instrumentalists and their cohesion as a group. Also it’s an impressively fun song.
‘Lactose Intolerant’, with its galloping drums and earworm intro riff, was another crowd favourite. Featuring Williams (whose unique vocals lead most of Crocodylus’ tracks), this one comes off their second EP, Christian Syrups. Scacco describes the whole EPs sound as “fun, brash” – ‘Lactose Intolerant’ fits the bill. It’s a tune threw up a huge roar from the punters and would probably incite a full-crowd sing-along at a festival (if only they could understand Williams’ wailing). Just like a festival, various things were tossed over the crowd’s heads – fellow punters, band members, and a large blow up crocodile. Crowd-surfing, while already a dangerous concert past-time, was raised to new stakes during Crocodylus’ set. There were some very slippery bodies flying too far off the ground.
Speaking of slippery circumstances, the Crocs outdid themselves with ‘Sweaty Already’ – “Well, I’m sweaty already and I’ve just begun dancing around and having fun.” It’s very satisfying to scream out lyrics that perfectly describe your present situation. Well, almost perfectly – the crowd had been dancing for far longer than that.
Nearly three quarters of an hour into the set, Crocodylus finally snapped out the reason for their performance. ‘My Love’ is a thoughtful song – Salvador’s drumming at the beginning prepares everyone with the tempo, Williams and Scacco join in with surf rock riffs to kickstart some hip-wiggling, and then the whole lot comes together as an aggressively cheerful headbanger that ebbs and flows. There are claps, ahhs, reverb-soaked solos; it’s a ditty that suits a 50s jive as it does a full-blown mosh (on the night, it was the latter).
Bringing the pace down to an acceptable level of heart-pumping, Crocodylus finished off the night with their 2016 number, ‘Your Smile’. It’s far less frantic than the majority of their work, almost like a garagey Wombats, and was possibly chosen to stabilise the crowd’s energy before unleashing them back onto the streets. Don’t think it worked though. How could you not leave pumped with adrenaline after watching a bunch of crocs death roll?