Fight Like Apes on tour.... I was first in the queue to review their recent set at the BarFly Dragon Bar on Thursday 26th February. They are such an amazing live band (I’d already glimpsed their genius as support act to The Prodigy late last year) that you just can’t miss an opportunity like this. I ran through the doors like a gazelle, notebook in hand, to take prime position for the night’s totally amazing gig.
As a venue, The Dragon Bar at BarFly is tiny – it’s practically like watching Fighting Like Apes in your own living room- apart from the fact that the floor is probably a lot stickier and you wouldn’t choose the bright red walls and a black ceiling for your decor. You can only fit a couple of hundred people in, so you know you’re in for a treat when you come to watch a band here!
I had to wade through the boredom of three support acts to get to Fight Like Apes including Suddenly Phantoms, where the lead singer is one of those ‘thinks he can sing but can’t’ youngsters. The best part about the set was when he wandered off stage with his backpack and shopping bag – it actually bought a smirk to my lips! Up next were Your Biggest FanClub – a promising local Wolverhampton band who whipped up the crowd (mostly consisting of their mates as supporters at this point) with songs like Good Time Jones and Kebab Shop Riot. All the songs had promising starts but then seemed to end up sounding the same.
Then it was time for Underground Railroad, a three strong Parisian band who reside in London. They treated us to songs like Pick the Ghost and Headache from their latest album Sticks and Stones, although the vocals were almost indiscernible. The front man drummer Raphael Mura finished of the set saying ‘you guys were amazing’ but I find that hard to believe, as I didn’t hardly see anyone clap! At the end of the day, I think that the ever-increasing crowd of roughly 150 people were here to see FLApes and no one else!
Dublin born FLApes were actually milling amongst the audience during the support acts, with Tom the 7ft bass player with a 1 foot afro setting up their merchandise stall, and ‘Pockets’ the pint sized synth player changing into a cobra karate top. When these cartoon-like characters invaded the stage just after 10pm with Adrian the drummer and MayKay, the absolutely mad lead vocalist with even madder jet black hair tamed at the ends with pigtails, the excitement that coursed through my veins was almost visible. I wasn’t disappointed either.
What we were treated to was a completely mad 50 minute set of amazingly memorable lyrics and predominant synthesiser riot pop that Fight Like Apes is quickly becoming renowned for. They punched out song after song from their debut album Fight Like Apes and the Mystery of the Golden Medallion that was only released on January 26th! But, it’s not just songs like Something Global, Jake Summers and 90210 that the crowd (plus the front line of completely hooked fans) are here for. ......
click the image for live show photos
Fight Like Apes have such a huge and hilarious stage presence that make them a must see act for 2009. They are each, in their own right, totally nuts on stage. MayKay’s dancing (and hair) gets wilder and wilder with every tune, while ‘Pockets’ intermittently wanders to the front of stage and stares out over the crowd before heading back to sway from side to side over his synth. Tom the bass player stands nobly (with a few swift kicks to other band members here and there) and Adrian the drummer sits quietly at the back banging out huge noise on the drums.
But that’s not it – during the opening track Something Global you found MayKay lying on top of a huge tower of speakers and Pockets drumming on the crowd barrier. Oh, and then for Jake Summers, MayKay actually jumped right out into the crowd and danced like a mad fool before flipping back over the barrier (and giving herself a wedgie with her red hot pants).
Tie Me up with Jackets was met with rapturous applause and Lend me Your Face (that MayKay sang with two microphones for maximum noise) was met with just as much fervour. My favourites of the night have to be Digi****er and Snore Bore Whore.
With all this energy it’s no wonder that MayKay sang Lightsaber ****sucking Blues whilst lying on the floor and collapsed in a heap after belting out the big finale Battle Stations. As the crowd roared, Tom handed his bass to Pockets who used it to play the last few notes on his synth before chucking it on the floor and walking off.
So yes, go buy the album but to get the full effect of Fight Like Apes go see them live. You’ll have the time of your life. I think I’m fast becoming a Fight Like Apes Fan and the more I listen to their tracks and the more I see them, the more I want! Catch them in the last few remaining dates of their UK tour. They have to be seen to be believed!
Review by Tricia Williams