Los Angeles-based Half the Animal is a four-piece alternative pop band that is relatively new to the scene. Vocalist Chase Johnson and drummer Nick Gross, former cast members on the infamous MTV show Laguna Beach, formed the band in the early half of 2016. Guitarist Dan Graham and bassist Evan Smith were added shortly after, completing the quartet. The guys released their debut single “Babylon” in 2016 and the track ended up reached 1 million online streams as well as countless plays on SiriusXM’s Hits 1.
Half the Animal took the stage at ONCE Ballroom in Somerville, Massachusetts to open up for Atlas Genius on their Fall 2017 headlining tour. Since they were first up, it was early on in the night and not many people were in the audience. The energy in the room was mundane to say the least. However, Johnson was quickly able to engage the crowd with his funky dance moves and euphoric spirit.
Although the stage was small, Johnson and the gang knew how to make use of the space that was available. The frontman danced around each member as he sang the jazzy track “If You Want My Love,” a song with a memorable hook that the audience caught on and actually started to sing along to. In order to keep this infectious energy up, the band went straight into “Babylon,” and to my surprise the crowd knew the words and sang along with such enthusiasm that left Johnson speechless. At the end of the song he genuinely praised Boston for such a great first visit with a supportive crowd. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a group so truly appreciative and happy with what they’re doing. It was refreshing to see.
From there, bold lights glazed over the stage as the instrumentals of “Redbone” by Childish Gambino started. This cover definitely caught my attention, and Johnson was able to showcase his falsetto while getting the crowd even more involved.
To end the night, Half the Animal decided to close with their new single “Bad Bad Love.” This pop-leaning tune has a catchy chorus, something the guys have mastered very quickly. The crowd was having a blast, beer spilling out of the cups in their hands and all. With another thank you from Johnson and my newfound appreciation for Half the Animal, they were off.
You can stream their new single “Bad Bad Love” on Spotify here!
All photo credit to Brianna O’Shaughnessy