Gig reviews

Fight Like Apes (live in Dublin)

Sep 27

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Saturday, September 27, 2008  RssIcon

Fight Like Apes (live in Whelans, Dublin)

Fight Like ApesReview Snapshot: I still haven't decided whether I enjoyed this gig or not. Fight Like Apes themselves were undeniably excellent as ever, but an over-excited crowd made the whole thing a manic affair.

The Cluas Verdict? 8 out of 10

Full Review:

I think I preferred Fight Like Apes when they were just starting out. While I always admired their ability to get an often-bemused crowd moving, they seemed to have honed this into an ability to induce spontaneous loss of limb control and often senses. Last night’s album launch gig in Whelans, was one of the most terrifying gig experiences of my life: after a heavy hour of being squashed, I left nursing an aching head from the impact with a metal dustbin and aching neck from the impact with someone’s elbow as I was crushed between two people reaching for a crowd-surfer, bruised arms and a dress that stank of spilled drink. And I narrowly missed being egged while walking home, although I can’t really hold the gig to blame for that one.

But yet it was inexplicably one of the best gig experiences. Nearly all of the problems of this gig were the result of the young and over-excited crowd, whereas Fight Like Apes themselves played a blinding set, with admirably few album plugs. There is very little of interest to say of their support band, whose name I couldn’t even catch, but that they need to learn that noise and screams are much more effective reserved for climactic peaks and dramatic effect, and that pushing your singers’ voices will make for an early retirement for them and loss of interest for everybody else. Evidentally thy have listened to too much At The Drive-In without learning any of their ingenuity or complexity. But, their bass-player knows how to hit a groove and lash out riffs, making a noise no three-piece should be capable of.

FLA were, as ever, funny and good natured, despite the violence of their songs, and they play the old songs with the same fervour and crazed energy they do the new. The band themselves have come a long, long way in the last few years – and have apparently concentrated most on developing their already-strong live performance and crowd-control techniques – mostly whipping them into a frenzy. They are more powerful, more wild, and just a little more controlled. However, with this has come a certain complacency: when you know that you will get a screaming reaction no matter what you do, you tend to hold back. MayKay, while putting so much more effort into her crowd interaction than in their early days, is nonetheless putting less into her own performance. The screaming aggression and sudden crying breaks from the slightly introverted – dare I say girlish? – norm is being lost, and slowly making the Fight Like Apes show more ordinary. Nevertheless, judging by last night’s show, Fight Like Apes and the Mystery of the Golden Medallion should prove to be one of the best Irish albums of this year.

Anna Murray


2 comment(s) so far...


Re: Fight Like Apes (live in Dublin)

interesting take on the gig... I didn't think too much of the 'over-excited crowd' at the time (being also that I was probably part of it!), but looking back on it I can see how you might have felt. couple of meatheads in front of me nearly started a fight... but those dustbins were plastic, not metal. not quite as insane as that!

I'm still looking for the name of the support act, I actually thought they were quite good. More Mclusky than ATDI, and I thought it was good that FLApes got such an aggressive act to start off with; the last time I saw them in Whelan's the support was Grand Pocket Orchestra, which are a lot like a quirkier version of the band themselves.

as for the complacency, I still would have been happy with a lot less of a performance, although I do miss the rawness - live as on the album - of their older days.

By gabbagabbahey on   Sunday, September 28, 2008

Re: Fight Like Apes (live in Dublin)

Support band were Untitled Musical Project from Birmingham - the Apes are big fans.

By Bernie Divilly on   Monday, September 29, 2008

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