Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Review: Fight Like Apes at Norwich Arts Centre, 28/11/11

Fight Like Apes at Norwich Arts Centre, 28/11/11 (support from Fever Fever & Cut Ribbons)
Genre: Synth-pop, indie rock

Kicking off this remarkably dead show at the Arts Centre were Welsh band Cut Ribbons. They play fairly non-descript indie rock, distinguished only by their dual male/female vocals. Even that interesting difference didn't show up too well in their performance (balance seemed a bit squiffy), but the set was pretty good and it seemed a bit of a shame there weren't more people there to see them. The Arts Centre's fairly small but even so it was barely half full by the time Cut Ribbons finished playing.

By the time Norwich natives Fever Fever took to the stage, however, the crowd had definitely bulked up. The show was also their single launch, so they obviously had a fair few fans there. It was immediately obvious why they seem to have such a dedicated fanbase. Their set was amazing. For three people, they make a hell of a lot of very good noise. And they were evidently enjoying themselves, throwing in a lot of banter with the crowd and each other. Brilliant, hyperactive art punk at its raucous best. Check out the free track Teeth here: http://feverfever.bandcamp.com/track/teeth

Following on from that amazingly energetic set, the headliners had a lot to live up to. It's been three years since I first saw Fight Like Apes. Back then, they were the support for The Ting Tings. They sucked me in with their rather anarchic, high energy set. This show definitely didn't disappoint. Non-stop and bloody loud. And yet the room still wasn't full and the crowd barely seemed bothered. Until lead vocalist MayKay wandered off into the audience, that is. All of a sudden, the smallest mosh pit I have ever seen appeared. Finally, finally people seemed to be paying attention to what was an amazing show. With a couple of new tracks thrown in and a set that crept past curfew without anyone seeming to care, Fight Like Apes might just have won over some new fans. I hope they did. They certainly deserve it.

Fight Like Apes setlist:
Do You Karate?, Poached Eggs, Hoo Ha Henry, Katmandu, Lend Me Your Face, Jenny Kelly, Digifucker, Jake Summers, Thirsty, Tie Me Up With Jackets, Battlestations (+ 2 new tracks)
Encore: Megameanie, Ice Cream Apple Fuck

And as an added bonus, have some crappy photography, courtesy of my phone.

And as a final note: SQUEE at the remarkably cheap (i.e. reasonably priced) merch. Woot for band t-shirts and CDs.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Review: Madina Lake at the Waterfront, Norwich

Madina Lake at the Waterfront, Norwich, 17/11/11 (support from The Super Happy Fun Club & My Passion)
Genre: Alternative rock/electro-rock/post-hardcore

Madina Lake make a triumphant, but rather ignored return to the UK almost 18 months after their last tour here. Kicking off with fellow Chicago natives The Super Happy Fun Club, the venue's only really half full. Which is a shame, really, because while the vocalist doesn't have much in the way of stage presence, their set is slick, polished and bloody good fun. Considering most of the crowd seemed to have no idea who TSHC are, they all got into the swing of things. Definitely a band to watch.

Next up are English electro-rockers My Passion. Plenty of screaming fan(girls) for them. Their set is heavy on material from their second album, which I'm personally not so keen on, but the energy levels rocketed, the crowd got moving and the venue actually seemed to be filling more. That said, their main vocalist has the strangest ability to irritate me without even trying – he just seems so very full of himself. But hey, the music's good and the crowd enjoyed it.

Audience suitably primed, Madina Lake took to the stage with all the energy they had on that last tour. It's so nice to see that – bassist Matthew Leone was severely assaulted last year and it's wonderful to see he's made such a great recovery. The crowd obviously agreed with me – this really was a triumphant return. Kicking off with Imagineer from the latest album, the set was non stop, rattling through a range of songs from all three albums. So, OK, Nathan Leone's vocals weren't great, but the energy and the atmosphere more than made up for it. And this time I managed to not to get stuck on the edge of a mosh pit. Happy times for me. Closing with the awesome Pandora, they left a thoroughly satisfied crowd, confident that Madina are back with a vengeance and a dogged determination to just keep going. All that said, it's such a shame that the Waterfront still wasn't full.

Madina Lake setlist:
Imagineer, Adalia, Never Take Us Alive, Let's Get Out Of Here, House Of Cards, Now Or Never, One Last Kiss, Howdy Neighbour!, Hey Superstar, Here I Stand, Welcome To Oblivion, They're Coming For Me, True Love, Me Vs The World, Pandora (encore)