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PLANET OF THE APES

  • Steve Lamacq
  • 18 Jun 08, 04:40 PM

There is a lonely place out on the periphery of the indie rock world inhabited solely by misfits. It's made lonelier tonight by the paucity of the crowd (I count 26 of us in what could loosely be called 'an audience').

Not that this deters a Misfit band! These Misfit groups form because they want to make a noise. And a proper screaming pop noise at that. And they don't conform to pop fashion either (invariably the boys will always look like they've recently fallen out of bed and the girls will be imposing, scatty or slightly scary). They will also write songs about, I don't know...B-Movies, or cooking utensils. And they'll be far happier than their peers who live down the road in a shared basement, trying to cut their hair like Johnny Borrell and attempting to sign to a record label who will treat them like a new fridge and stuff them full of junk.

At least I hope they're happier because the misfit bands aren't without ambition. They just don't, well, seem to fit in. Fight Like Apes are a great Misfit band. Joyously so! Here at the 229 venue (supporting The Ettes and playing after Circuits who are equally undaunted by the lack of people) the Apes thrash about on their guitars and keyboards and wotnot like it's some kind of pop exorcism.

fightlikeapes.jpg

The first time I saw them - a year ago in north London - they seemed like too much of a mess to make sense to anyone. It was like watching re-runs of The Goodies. But it turns out I was wrong. Having fallen in love with their two EPS (not to mention an excellent session for my Radio 1 programme) the scales of cynicism have fallen from the eyes. They start with 'Do You Karate' which is typical of them - not just because it does the coy verse/vengeful chorus thing that they do so well; but because if this had been any old simple band who were on a mission to make the Top 40, they would have saved 'the hit' till the end.

It actually sets the pulse racing this gig. They look like they're about to explode, while I'm aware that I'm grinning like a small child who is experiencing the violently surreal world of Punch & Judy for the first time. By the point where they play 'Jake Summers' from the first EP, singer Maykay and keyboardist Pockets are rolling around the empty dancefloor playflighting, while Maykay yelps and screams "You're like Kentucky Fried Chicken but without the taste."

Their songs allude to hate figures and love figures and there is virtually no inbetween. But then Misfit bands don't do 'sitting on the fence.' FACT: every single member of this band would make a more interesting Big Brother housemate than the latest bunch (with the exception of Michael, but that goes without saying).

At the end I stand around looking uncomfortable before catching their eye and attempt to explain how excited I was to see them. And not, I'm sure for the first time, the Misfit band look back sympathetically and think: "It's not us who's mad; it's everybody else."

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