Fight Like Apes @ Birmingham Barfly (Dragon Bar) – 21st November 2008

The room is cold and a little lacking in atmosphere. Two lacklustre support acts have come and gone and my enthusiasm for the main act has been dampened somewhat. The largely apathetic, yet not large crowd shift around awkwardly.

I can’t see this going well.

I am very, very wrong. A good few more bodies come pressing into the room and a low throbbing hum of synths rumbles into life. Four people shuffle into place. They seem shambolic yet purposeful. They are led from the front by a beautiful banshee of a woman whose voice is a keening lament for angsty teenagers everywhere. It is very hard to take your eyes off her because of her striking good looks and the force of her charisma. A capering madman called Pockets stands to her right on synths and starts bashing a breezeblock onto the guardrail to provide makeshift percussion. A beanpole of a bassist writhes away to her left. And a hardcase of a drummer with a mohawk smashes seven shades of shit out of his drums.

Fight Like Apes sprint through a razor sharp set of grungy pop with synths, equal parts Sonic Youth and The Pixies and Pavement. Highlights include recent single ‘Jake Summers’, which has gone top ten in their native Ireland, and ‘Lend Me Your Face’. It’s great to see a band line up for their drinks at the bar beforehand and have a laugh with their fans whilst selling t shirts afterwards. Very refreshing. They seem to genuinely enjoy interacting with the crowd banter, perhaps even letting it ramble on a bit long at times, to the detriment of the set. A small criticism however.

The group are mixing with some pretty cool company at the moment, having toured with the hipper than hip Ting Tings. This gig is part of the Levi’s ‘Ones To Watch’ tour for up and coming new acts and after said tour Fight Like Apes will be supporting The Prodigy on their sold out British dates. Fight Like Apes are just as cool as any cool kids on the block though, and they deserve their slice of the action.

Review – Adam Moffatt
Photos – Christine Tellier

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