No amount of snow could deter the Fight Like Apes faithful from making the trek to Tripod this evening to see the band kick off their nationwide winter tour. With second album The Body Of Christ And The Legs Of Tina Turner garnering widespread critical acclaim since its release in late August and the band’s Electric Picnic performance one of the undeniable highlights of the 2010 festival season, expectations for tonight’s show are high. It’s a frenzied welcome for the band as they take to the stage with ‘You Are The Hat’ – which now comes with its very own brass section – before launching into a raucous rendition of ‘Do You Karate?’
Tonight is the first opportunity for many in attendance to hear the material from The Body Of Christ… played live and May Kay, Tom, Jamie and Lee not only do their new songs justice, but perform them with such incredible flair and confidence that one could be forgiven for thinking they’re part of the stable of old reliable songs that the band have been gigging with for years. ‘Poached Eggs’ is an early full-blown chant-along highlight, the backing of cello makes for an impressive performance of ‘Katmandu (Face It, You’re Caviar, I’m Hotdogs)’ and ‘Thank God You Weren’t Thirsty (Lightbulb)’ serves not only as a stunning representation of the power of May Kay’s voice but also of the advances that the band have made lyrically – it’s Fight Like Apes: Now With Added Feelings.
Don’t worry, they haven’t gone all serious on us – a cover of Salt ‘n’ Pepa’s ‘Push It’ is a stroke of brilliance, sure to become a firm feature in the band’s live setup. Staple songs ‘Digifucker’, ‘Something Global’, and ‘Jake Summers’ are unwavering in their ability to make an audience go completely bonkers; ‘Snore Bore Whore’ is sublime; and ‘Can Head’ closes out the main set with a bang. An encore of ‘Knucklehead’ (performed with the entire audience sitting on the floor) and the always epic ‘Battlestations’ brings this opening night of FLApes tour to an end.
It’s a jam-packed high-energy set, which flows seamlessly from song to song. Banter with the audience, throwing steel poles around, and a spot of stage-diving are all in an evening’s work for Fight Like Apes. MayKay continues to display the kind of rare stage-presence that is incomparable to any frontwoman who’s come before her and sets the bar incredibly high for any who follow; and collectively the band just seem to naturally know how to rock a venue like no other. The country as we know it may be in tatters but tonight Fight Like Apes manage to provide some much needed escapism. 90 minutes of quality music and pure unadulterated fun… what more could you ask for in times like these?
Photos: Sara Devine