FIGHT LIKE APES
FIGHT LIKE APES @ King Tuts, Glasgow – 1st May 2011
Losing two of the original four members within the space of twelve months would prove an almost insurmountable hurdle for any band – especially one that had begun to see the fruits of their labours flower with national music press coverage, Festival invitations, support role invites from the likes of The Prodigy and even a Choice Music Award nomination for their debut album.
But remaining members Maykay and Pockets took it all in their stride. Drummer Adrian was replaced with Lee and Tom’s replacement, Connor joined up with the band a matter of only weeks ago. Both had ‘previous’ with FIGHT LIKE APES, Lee playing on early demos and Connor being a friend through other band connections.
It’s been a couple of years since FLA last played Glasgow but their fans have obviously remained loyal, with King Tuts about two thirds full tonight – everyone eager to see how the new guys will fit in.
Obviously it would be quite pointless and grossly unfair to compare and contrast the new with old members. To an extent it’s fortunate that tonight’s set concentrates mainly on material from the new album, ‘The Body Of Christ and The Legs Of Tina Turner,’ for although Tom still played bass on the album, this is the first time most of these songs have been performed ‘live’ to a Glasgow audience and thus the temptation is removed.
One observation though – I think the new rhythm section produces a more rounded and full sound. Even the old ‘standards’ seem to have more meat on them this time around.
Anyway – a sixteen song / one encore set spanning about an hour proves excellent value for the punters, almost all of whom are up for the party that FLA bring. As always, the set opens with ‘You Are The Hat’ the old, atmospheric and sample-loaded song that closes with the simian proclamation ‘Now…… Fight Like Apes!’
We’re off and running. ‘Do You Karate,’ bursts through. Maykay is straight into her stride, egging the crowd to join with the chanted little chorus and Pockets looks like he means to inflict some real damage on his keyboard. To Maykay’s left, Connor holds it all together, long hair tied back and resplendent in his scruffy-chic RAWK attire. (Tom was so neat, you know…!)
And seated behind, Lee (looking –to me anyway – like a young Rory Gallagher as he peers through the dry ice smoke and coloured stage lights) is knocking seven shades of shit out of his kit already.
Undoubtedly though, the focus is on Maykay and Pockets. They both interact with the crowd throughout – Maykay at times teasing, at others just plain downright psychotic looking as she screams into her mic, head bowed and jet black long hair covering her face like some hybrid Joey Ramone and Cousin Itt. A damn sight more sexy than either though, it has to be said!
Pockets is perhaps a little more confrontational; stomping off along the stage and staring manically into the eyes of those in the front row, daring them to blink, and effectively (very effectively) encouraging complete aversion to eye contact as his chosen ‘victim’ casts their gaze towards the closest of the other three!
An energetic and often light-hearted set is interspersed with the now expected violent ‘fencing’ between Maykay and Pockets (utilising long metallic tubes) to the introduction of ‘Digifucker;’ Maykay’s singing amongst the crowd on the now compulsory ‘Jake Summers,’ and Pockets trashing and kicking his keyboards in the ivories at the conclusion of encore number, ‘Battlestations.’
Previous staple and one of my personal favourites of the FIGHT LIKE APES set, a cover of mclusky’s ‘Lightsabre Cocksucking Blues’ has been dropped this time around. BOOO! However, their one and only concession to the PRS is a fabulous cover of Salt-n-Pepa’s ‘Push It’ which they manage to mash-up into a mix with The Kinks’ ‘You Really Got Me.’ Inspired!
It was also nice to witness another, more serious-sounding side to the band on ‘Thirsty’ taken from the new album. Maykay’s vocals cover the whole gamut on this one – from pained and slightly throaty to the maniacal screams as the song heads towards its conclusion.
Right now there is no other band around quite like FIGHT LIKE APES. They really are quite original in their embodiment of comedic cartoon / B-movie characters twinned with psychotic mentalists. They can also play. And Party!
They’re fun and credible. There are not many bands around that satisfy both camps. If you haven’t already experienced a FIGHT LIKE APES show, then now’s your chance. Check their current UK dates and venues here.