There’s something about the Camden Barfly which makes you feel a bit like when you turn up at your Nan’s – it is a bit old and crusty but you know it can produce treats and has one hell of a history. Tonight XFM, the inconsistently excellent capital station which has birthed the likes of Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant and Steve Lamacq, host with its X-posure night. ShadowPlay bustles through the door just in time to spill some lager on new shoes, take up a position with said shoes locked to the floor, and still be blown away by Dananananakroyd. Well, kinda pushed a bit further back.
The Glasgow six-piece are full of such exuberance that, while other bands so in your face would be accused of arrogance, the youthful sextet prove merely endearing and, well, fucking tuneful. At times they step intothe realms of hardcore, some vocals barely distinguishable between that of a human voice and a shredder with a wadge of particularly guilty invoices. But for the most part they’re punk with great riffs, their determination to jump into the audience, make everyone hug each other in a barn dance style pair-off and make even the most cynical little faux-editor put a sweaty paw around a young man from battered Mars Bars Mecca. Glorious.
It says a lot about Fight Like Apes, having only just released their excellent debut album Fight Like Apes and Mystery of the Golden Medallion, that tonight the doors are locked tight shut as it’s a sell-out in some demand. Led by extreme-bonneted femme-fantastique ‘Mackay’ the Apes are a rare breed in being able to execute sarcasm and, strangely, not being cunts. So while they play up to tonight’s radio audience giving mums shout-outs and chastising all before them the Irish wizards underly this with a visceral, convincing display of brutal prowess. The genuine passion in this band bristles, even before amusing synth player Pockets (aided by a Gandolf the Grey-esque superfan) battles with his mic long enough to say he’s decided he is enjoying himself.
Fight Like Apes are in possession of some incredible tunes – Digifucker, the bellowed Lend Me Your Face and Lumpy Dough at a glance – which resonate around the small venue and are the main reason that most of those assembled were once failed beam away from finishing their pogoing in the bar below. The real belter tonight comes in the form of perfectly formed single Jake Summers in which Mackay shouts in her cheeky American-accent-tinged tone “hey, you, get some graceace, you’re driving miss daisy all over the place/ hey you you’re taking up space and you’re a fucking disappointment to the human race” – I love a singer who doesn’t mince their words and, in Mackay, the Apes’ adoring following have so much more.