Zoo Animal’s in The Cabin

Story by Zack Katz, Copy Editor

Last weekend, UW-Eau Claire started off their feature performer series with grunge-pop band Zoo Animal. The group was the first of three showcase artists.

Throughout the semester, the University Activities Commission’s Cabin Committee will featured artists in The Cabin. The Minneapolis natives played at 11 a.m. Friday morning, as well as 7 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday night.

Front-woman Holly Newsom has seen a number of lineup changes since she formed the band on Jan. 1, 2008, but she has stayed true to her style since the beginning.

“This lineup specifically began Dec. 21 of last year,” Newsom said. “But I think the ideas for Zoo Animal go as far back as seventh grade with a friend who played guitar.”

Zoo Animal said their plan was to create a mix from all their releases for their feature performances, in order to give listeners a taste for all their different sounds.

Much to the excitement of fans at the shows, Zoo Animal drew heavily upon their latest release, Departure, which was released Feb. 20 of last year.

“I have a bunch of stuff we haven’t released — also some from the old album, and a couple songs from the new one,” Newsom said. “The set list was kind of a grab bag.”

Throughout all of the changes in the group’s lineup, Newsom has been the rhythm guitarist and lead vocalist.

“I was the typical story of grabbing pots and pans and banging them when I was little,” Newsom said. “I started out as a drummer and to tell the truth, I don’t know how I got into writing music.”

Newsom said she had never really thought to take lessons or begin with sheet music.

“I don’t even know why I started writing music. But that’s the way I learned how to play guitar.” Newsom said. “I just had ideas and thoughts, and I decided it was a nice way of doing something with them.”

Newsom’s aimlessness in her writing style is available in Zoo Animal’s minimalist approach. Together, the group’s sound is dreamy and uncollected.

Freshman Joe Hunt said he has seen Zoo Animal play before at home in Minneapolis, and was excited to learn the group would be performing at The Cabin.

“They have a sort of rugged sound,” Hunt said. “It’s fun though, I definitely like their style a lot.”

Hunt’s friend and fellow freshman Taylor Isaac said although he hadn’t heard Zoo Animal before their first Cabin performance this weekend, he agrees the group’s sound is developed and fun.

Although Zoo Animal hasn’t officially announced a new release, Newsom said listeners can expect new material to arrive in the near future.