As Crawdaddy filled up for Fight Like Apes, there was a definite sense of anticipation. It felt weird, like on of the landmark shows people talk about - The Smiths in the Hacienda or Radiohead at Glastonbury 97 or whatever. The room was heaving. They played at the same time as the Concretes, but I can't imagine even having given half a thought to seeing that. It was like a big fight or something. Like when Bernard Dunne fought Kiko. It wasn't the title fight, but if he fucked it up (which he did) it was back to square one. Luckily, Fight Like Apes were not knocked out by a Spaniard in the first round. The opposite, really. Gig of the weekend.
That was this time last year. "Elephant 6 on punk rock tablets" I said. "Like a wall" I said. Various other universally positive things I said. It was definitely gig of the weekend. It was probably gig of the year, being honest. But obviously things have changed between my ears and Fight Like Apes in the interim. I'm one year less wide-eyed about the fact that an Irish band can actually be GOOD. And they put out a single I really didn't like.
So how were they in Meeting House Square, the damp towel of venues?
Great, actually. Unlike SEBP and Bats, they were sufficiently loud to connect (possibly to do with the pseudo-scientific "synths=full wave walls of sound" theory I invented out of my arse last year) even though they kept giving out to the soundman, who was probably on a drawbridge over a pit of Dublin City Council alligators.
The high points were manifold. Either I'm starting to appreciate the lesser spotted (non-first EP or Do You Karate?) Fight Like Apes songs more, or I'm just listening harder because I don't know them as well, but some of them really shined. Knucklehead is an amazing song, and must be feeling very unfulfilled that it wasn't the A-side to its Photoshopped cousin Something Global. Accidental Wrong Hole is still one of the best premises for a song in existence. The new one that's a letter to a roadie called Samuel, dispensing with his services with a double-suplex followed by a backbreaker, is power pop in a good way.
The new one with the words "lovely noise" prominent was alright... suffered from a bit of lyrical Something Global-ism in that it was very "you do this, we hate you for it". But y'know... who am I to judge, that's pretty much what I do on this blog (except it's usually love). And I hope they weren't trying to imply that Yo La Tengo aren't deadly.
I need to stop rambling on so much in this blog, I used to have a kind of concise style and I avoided the word "I".
The middle-aged man who, last year, stood beside me and Bobby and laughed completely out of proportion to his increasingly piss-taking tennis jokes (they were wearing sweatbands) turned up again. Like, it started with "They must play tennis" "Ahahahaha!" but by the end it was just like "Racket!" "Ahahahahaha!"... "Andre Agassi!" "Ahahahaha!" He must be related to someone in the band, or work for HWCH. I hope he enjoyed it as much this year.
Did I? I suppose, in a different way. Some people I talked to didn't, but I thought it was really good. The way they play and act seems naturally more geared towards bigger stage and a bigger crowd now, and that helps in somewhere like Meeting House Square. They fought on the ground and threw a bass at each other. They played great noisy pop songs with intensity. Their album is streaming on entertainment.ie from tomorrow, and fickle as I am, I can't wait.