Tonight's gig is in the Cockpit 3. I was at a loss as to where in the Cockpit Stage 3 was. To my surprise it is the top part, which is usually reserved for drinking. As small a room as it is, it is full, but not so full you cannot breathe or move. Being at the back I am not able to see a lot, but that’s my fault for not getting there earlier.

Fight Like Apes take to the stage and they start with a soft mellow introduction which has lead singer Maykay lost in her own little world with her eyes closed and drifting along with the notes. It has to be said that I never thought I would see a hippy Goth with candyfloss hair, but she looks very striking.

The introduction drifts along for a few minutes. It has a strong bass feel to it all, but then, before you know it, it all kicks into gear going from zero to one hundred in two seconds. Right from the start the crowd get into things very quickly, despite Fight Like Apes having made very few in roads under the radar of the mainstream music press. By the time they start to play the second song Adrian, the drummer, is standing up and using to roof as a drum to get the crowd to clap in time with the beat. Needless to say the audience joins in without much coaxing. By ‘It’s Not Nice’ everyone is taking part in the gig and either enjoying the gig or joining in as much as they can.

There are times when Fight Like Apes sound like Paramore. They fluctuate towards bands like At The Drive In in their influences and in having released with 'Fight Like Apes and the Mystery of the Golden Medallion', their debut album of last year, an art punk record. You can see the more arty side of music influencing their sound, and bands as well such as Pavement, Yo La Tengo, Mclusky, My Bloody Valentine, Chapterhouse and Devo, all of whom have had a quirky sound and didn’t really follow the rock ‘n’ roll formula.

Their sounds start off in a slow way and then gathers speed and power. It is a format that they use a little too much for my liking and after five songs you know what is likely to come next. That said though it is good to hear something that isn’t prepared to follow the norm and is trying to be different. The keyboards have a fairground sound to them at times and this just adds to the quirkiness. You wonder if keyboardist Pockets (he has a habit of pocketing cigarettes lighters apparently and hence the name) has done this to be at odds with the other instruments and to cause friction.

The gig flows on easily enough with the crowd enjoying the banter that goes back and forth between them and the band. At one point Maykay says "What fun this is !’ and I think everyone here tonight is thinking the same thing. I find Fight Like Apes too disjointed for me. I prefer something more easy to tap into, but there is nothing wrong with seeing someone who is determined to break out of the norm. They play well enough and are tight enough to make the gig enjoyable for the crowd. The set ends after eleven songs, which is way too short for the crowd and too short for me. The encore is a confused affair with both crowd and band unsure of what to do. Some people start to leave and that seals the problem for everyone with the band finally deciding not to have an encore.

For me the last two minutes of the gig sums up Fight Like Apes for me, unsure, confused and disjointed but somehow enjoyable. It does no harm to be taken out of your comfort zone, but I doubt I’ll bother catching Fight Like Apes anytime in the future soon. It was good while it lasted but it is not for me.











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Commenting On: Cockpit 3, Leeds, 5/3/2009 - Fight Like Apes








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