SPIRIT ANIMAL ROCKS OUT AT THE SAINT!
July 18, 2019
By Diane DiMemmo
No two words could more aptly describe the musical experience you’ll get when you go to a show by this band. Brooklyn, NY musicians Steve Cooper (Lead Vocals), Paul Michel (Bass, Vocals), Cal Stamp (Guitar, Vocals), and Ronen Evron (Percussion) are truly the personification of high-octane energy and innate musical instincts that define a really unique and exceptional sound. I’ve said in the past to “expect the unexpected” when you listen to their music, and it’s honestly what we all love about this band so much. They don’t fit into any one mold or genre. Their music can’t really be compared to any other band’s. Their sound is categorically ... well ... a “Spirit Animal signature sound.”
(If you’re unfamiliar with their music, just click the play button to the “Karma” audio below, and listen as you finish reading my awesome article about this awesome band.)
To be able to see Spirit Animal perform live at a venue as intimate as The Saint in Asbury Park, New Jersey was viewed as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to their dedicated fanbase, known affectionately as “Spanimals.” Why? Because we all wholeheartedly agree with fan Sal Aronica’s statement that, “this band is going to explode.” When covering a show, I pay almost as much attention to the fans as I do the band because I’m fascinated by the effect musicians have on their audience. This was my fifth time covering the guys and I noticed a huge change in the fans’ reactions since the first time I saw them. Most knew every word to every song and proudly sang along all night! (Guilty.) Many sported the cool “banana f’in cream” colored merch and the rest were buying. (Not familiar with that color? Follow the band.) And most noticeable was the adoration in the crowd’s eyes for this band. THEY ARE LOVED. And they repeatedly tell their fans that they love them back. (Genuinely.)
The evening’s setlist was packed with all of their hits (plus their brand-new single “HYDR8”) and the group went full throttle from the first song to the last. When I say “full throttle” I’m referring to the energy the guys expend while playing, which was impressive due to the day’s sauna-like weather that seeped into the venue. (Yeah, we were all dripping by the end of the night!) Nobody plays bass like Paul who strikes amazing poses and jumps all over the stage while pumping out funky-rock runs. Cal swivels and dances on the other side of the stage while rocking his guitar riffs and rhythms. Steve is so experimental with his vocal styles which puts the band on another plane – rap, syncopation, funk, rock, and pop melodies; he does it all! And Ronen is the perfect drummer to lay the foundation for all that’s going on musically. He adapts, drives, and innovates with his playing to round off the band’s amazing sound.
Brand New Spirit Animal Song: HYDR8
[Video: Courtesy of Pam DeStefano]
A quick background on the band for those who are new to the “spamily.” Spirit Animal formed in 2010 and put out their first studio album The Cost of Living; however, they consider the true beginning of their band to be in 2012 when this current lineup was solidified and the EP This Is A Test was released. Their song “Black Jack White” was featured in the show CSI:NY and has racked up 1.4 million streams. Other Studio Albums/EP’s include: Kingdom Phylum (2013), World War IV (2016), and Born Yesterday (2018). Their two newest singles - “Regular World” (over 3 million streams) and “YEAH!” (approaching 1 million) show that this band who signed with Atlantic Records last year has a very bright future. In the past, the group has opened for Incubus, Theory, Fitz and the Tantrums, The Struts, Red Sun Rising, and Dorothy.
It’s great to see Spirit Animal now as the headliner and it’s well deserved as they have effectively distinguished themselves as musical innovators. In a 2018 Ones To Watch interview, Steve was quoted as saying, “One thing that has always unified us [the band] has been the desire to make music that can ‘touch all types.’” Well, by embracing that philosophy and being risk-takers who experiment with various styles, I have no doubt that in the future newer bands will be saying that Spirit Animal was one of their influences. Steve, Cal, Paul and Ronen don’t just feel the music. They don’t just play the music. They ARE the music.
The Truth/Regular World/World War IV/BST FRNDS/House On Fire/JFK/Painkiller/HYDR8/Karma/Big Bad Road Dog/YEAH!
Spirit Animal Photo Gallery
Spirit Animal In Action!
WHAT SPIRIT ANIMAL MEANS TO THEIR FANS
"There is truly something special about Spirit Animal! I was first introduced when they opened for Theory of a Deadman in Lincoln, NE. I was literally blown away. When their set was over, I went over to the merch table, met Steve, and told him they were gonna be playing in stadiums soon! I've seen them 4 times and each show is full of energy and feel-good vibes! The best is having the opportunity to talk to the guys after the show. They are genuinely good, down to earth people ❤ Ugh...I need a Spirit Animal fix." - Angie Lafferty
"The first time I saw Spirit Animal was in 2018 when I saw them open for The Struts. I was instantly hooked and they are now a favorite of mine. They are amazing performers and musicians and truly appreciate their fans. Personally, I have an emotional connection with many of their songs plus their music just makes me so happy. Spirit Animal’s music, the way they interact with us fans and the friends I’ve made because of them, have added so much to my life." - Melinda Prather (West Orange, NJ)
"I found them as the opener for Theory of a Dead Man about 2 years ago. First note of their first song I was hooked. I started following(and stalking) them right after the show. That stalking paid off because when they came back to San Diego earlier this year,I was able to get them a spot on the morning news show where I work. They are an awesome group of guys who care so much about their fan base." - Erica Runzel
"We saw them open for the Struts in Dallas and my son has been hooked ever since. In reality our whole family loves their music. But Steve’s interaction with fans won us over. He’s always so nice to my son and remembers his name on social media. That ups my love as they don’t have to treat 8 year old fans like they do. Avery even got on stage with Steve which was a big deal since his sister has been on stage with the Struts too. So best guys ever!" - Creath Pollack
"My 12 year old daughter - Rayna - adores them. Steve has been kind enough to sign things for her and respond to social media posts and pics. He definitely knows how to win the fans over. I’ve seen them 3 times now and they always put on a great show with nonstop energy. They have such a fun vibe about their music. The guys are so nice and friendly. Steve is at the merch table before and after shows answering questions, giving hugs, taking pics, and signing anything you ask. Oh, did I mention that they have talent? Yup, they do! They are the real deal!!"
- Hilary Deppe (Northern Illinois)
"I had seen them open for Theory of a Deadman with my son, Christian. When we were leaving, my son and I both kept talking about them and searched Spotify for their music (which we now know word for word!).They have so much energy. It’s a really fun show to be at. We went to see them again open for Dorothy & my son and I were able to meet Steve. Super nice guy. Love this band." - Jennifer McKim (Flatonia, TX)
"Tony and I went to see Fitz and the Tantrums and as we’re standing on the rail waiting for the show here comes the opener Spirit Animal and they blew us away! We met Steve after the show and I told him they would be headlining in no time. I found all their music I could get to download and googled where we could see them again. Went to a handful more shows just to see them, Steve couldn’t believe we left after their set and didn’t even stay for the headliners (theory, RSR, Dorothy, but we did stay to see the Struts and I’m glad we did) I have been obsessed with their music and live shows ever since. The energy they put into a show and the music they put out is the best!" - Pam DeStefano
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