Fight Like Apes @ Whelan’s last night
As much as I’m a fan of the other bands that played the Rubyworks 10th Birthday gig in Whelan’s last night (The Minutes, Funeral Suits, Deep Valley), what I really wanted to hear was new material from Fight Like Apes’ …
As much as I’m a fan of the other bands that played the Rubyworks 10th Birthday gig in Whelan’s last night (The Minutes, Funeral Suits, Deep Valley), what I really wanted to hear was new material from Fight Like Apes’ third album. I actually can’t remember the last time I saw FLApes play, and their absence from Dublin stages was evident in the enthusiasm that greeted their arrival last night. “We missed you”, MayKay announced on more than one occasion. But this wasn’t exactly a casual fan gig. With sound levels a teeny bit rusty, which was to be expected after a hefty live absence, MayKay’s voice nevertheless sounded at its best, which is probably what happens when you’re not busting a lung on stage every night. They opened with a new one, and the fresh tunes kept coming. No ‘Jake Summers’*, no ‘Lend Me Your Face’, no ‘Do You Karate’, no ‘Something Global’, no ‘Jenny Kelly’, no ‘I’m Beginning to Think You Prefer 90210 to Me’, no ‘Katmandu’, no ‘Thank God You Weren’t Thirsty’.
They did play “Recyclable Ass’, “Digifucker’, ‘Snore Bore Whore’, ‘Tie Me Up With Jackets’, ‘Captain A-Bomb’, ‘Indie Monster’, and five or six new ones. A larger piano keyboard took the place of their smaller set up, while a laptop hung in the background triggering samples. It’s kind of hard to review songs you’re only hearing for the first time, and none were introduced or concluded with a song title announcement, but overall, the hooks within these first-timers were already percolating towards the surface after just one lash.
After ‘The Body Of Christ And The Legs Of Tina Turner’ somewhat shied away from the taurine-fueled multicoloured expertise FLApes became known for, which some people called cartoonish but I think that sells it short, a darkness was revealed. Indeed, ultimately the frothier ingredients on that second album sat slightly awkwardly alongside the magnificently murky depths of ‘Katmandu’, ‘Thank God You Weren’t Thirsty’, ‘Poached Eggs’, ‘H + Z5 Together At Last’ and ‘Ice Cream Apple Fuck’. So where to now?
On first live listen, the hooks gradually bounced out like errant Slinkies. One proclaiming “it’s not happening” another about “my poor mom”. They keyboard riffs sounded more scuzzy (in a good way), and less whistling. And at lot of it was poppy. Very poppy. Like Robyn throwing a can at Le Galaxie poppy, not Katy Perry spooning a labradoodle poppy. FLApes don’t just write hooks, they don’t just play them or sing them, they throw them out, reeling you in once again. As a taster, last night was more than moreish.
*until the encore following a sizable break after which time I had left