Formed in 2010, The Hipper Critters are a four-piece plus vocals jazz-punk band playing original music in Wellington, New Zealand.
Possibly the only true jazz-punk band in the world, The Hipper Critters comprises members of former early-mid 80s post-punk bands from Dunedin and Wellington and
younger musicians who weren't even born when that shit was going down.
The line-up features vocals, sax, keyboards, drums and
a Warr guitarist - John Costa.
The Warr guitar is a hand-built, eleven-stringed beast that combines the functions of bass guitar
(played by tapping the strings with with the left hand) and a six-string or lead guitar (tapped with the right hand). This helps to give The Hipper Critters their unique, funky sound.
Bruce Mahalski's sometimes spontaneous lyrics are full of attitude and plenty of cutting humour. Newest Critters recruits Katie Morton
(keyboards) and Michael Hall (saxaphones) bring a high level of musicality to the
band - jazzy but with a hard edge. Hall's power-sax playing is an
amalgam of free jazz style and hard riffing.
Drummer James Gilberd is a veteran of the
Wellington early 80s post-punk scene, bands like The Neoteric Tribesmen and Condemned Sector, and has more recently grown a beard and played in jazz and country bands. He brings various aspects of
this experience to Critters' performances, depending on how he's feeling.
The original songs change every time they're played, with each musician working both inside and outside the script, totally in the moment.
Anything can happen at a Hipper Critters gig, and it frequently does....