Words: Saam Das
Fight Like Apes and Standard Fare live at The Bull And Gate, London (18 Nov '10)
The day before this Steve Lamacq gig/night, I was reminded why I stopped buying tickets to stuff in advance. The person who was meant to be joining me for the evening pulled out, which was a shame for many reason but mostly because I didn't have the chance to share such a brilliant night with one of my pals.
I gave Young British Artists a miss, instead electing to go for a couple of drinks with another friend before the gig so that at least I wasn't billy-no-mates for the whole evening. I arrived at The Bull And Gate with time to spare before Standard Fare came on.
I must admit I didn't have high hopes for Standard Fare's live set. My experience with their recorded material has been...well, Standard Fare by name, standard fare by nature. In the live environment, their breezy, distorted take on indie-pop was far more enjoyable. The odd line of witty banter helped - "this is the best album we've released this year", in reference to their debut record 'The Noyelle Beat'. Exactly the kind of joke that I'd crack. Bravo. They reeled out several of tracks from that album, including the rambunctious underage tale 'Fifteen' as well as the forget-it-all-and-do-something-more-fun track 'Dancing'. Maybe it's time I reassessed their recorded stuff.
STREAM: Standard Fare - Dancing
While Standard Fare were impressive, nothing quite prepares an audience for the tour de force live performances of Fight Like Apes. Not even a pleasant Steve Lamacq introduction. The band came on in tracksuits and headbands, clearly prepared for a bit of a workout. The next however-long-it-was ended up being an appropriately sweaty mess. They cunningly pillaged the vast majority of the set from the amazing debut album and dropping only the odd new track in - from second album, 'The Body Of Christ And The Legs Of Tina Turner', currently only released physically in Ireland. It was a massacre, of the best kind.
Obvious highlights being the thrilling 'Lend Me Your Face', 'Jake Summers', newbie 'Hoo Ha Henry' and an unexpected cover-of-sorts of 'Push It' by Salt-n-Pepa. And, of course, the expert banter. For example, the pleading for us to attempt to keep our pants on prior to a keytar being unleashed. DING DONG. Not that the live japery stopped there. Props eventually began to invade the audience, including a ladder, which was particularly brave considering much of the set was propelled by a group of unruly ragamuffins joyously smashing themselves into one another. And anyone else "within range". Fight like apes, indeed.
Following an encore of 'Something Global' and a sample-less 'Battlestations', we finally leave the venue, exhausted but further impassioned by the belief that Fight Like Apes are one of the most thrilling live acts around. Breathlessly brilliant.
STREAM: Fight Like Apes - Hoo Ha Henry
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Fight Like Apes: Facebook // MySpace // Website // Twitter