LIVE: FIGHT LIKE APES/UNDERGROUND RAILROAD – 01/03/2009
– THE ROADHOUSE, MANCHESTER –
With only 10 minutes to go before Underground Railroad take to the stage, there are possibly no more than 20 people populating The Roadhouse. Which is unfortunate, not necessarily for the Parisian trio that are providing the support tonight, but mainly for anyone that missed out on this chance to see a truly amazing band.
The art-rock, leftfield-punk sound they powerfully create would not be out of place with many of the early acts signed to Sub-Pop, such as Tad and Mudhoney. As they enter into their seven-song set, the numbers have now more than doubled.
First is ‘Headache’, taken from the debut album Twisted Trees. The shared vocals of Raphael Mura (drums/keys) and Marion Andrau (guitar) are reminiscent of Black Francis and Kim Deal (Pixies) and they equally match that infamous pairing.
During the next five songs, which are all taken from their latest album ‘Sticks and Stones’, J.B. Ganivet thrashes away at his bass guitar in such a manner, that you are surprised it stays in one piece.
Last but not least, is ‘Pick the Ghost’, which is the title track of their latest E.P. and I for one, am hoping they return to play our fine city very soon.
The time has now arrived to see if tonight’s main attraction can impress live, as much as they have with their debut album Fight Like Apes and the Mystery of the Golden Medallion.
Even though tonight’s event is surprisingly not sold out, it would appear many have paid on the door, as the venue is now full. From the moment the triple Meteor Music Award nominated foursome bound on the stage, they are up for the craic with the audience and it is clear antics are afoot. ‘Something Global’ is tonight’s opener and is followed by track four on the album (with a title I dare not repeat on this website).
For the intro to this, Maykay (vocals/synth) and Pockets (synth) each with a metal folding chair, clamber on the large speaker cabinets that line the front of the stage and then proceed to smash them together as if replacements for more traditional percussion instruments. Maykay, in her red hot-pants, makes a grab for her microphone and hurls herself into the crowd.
Throughout the set of nearly all the album tracks, including the last two singles ‘Lend Me Your Face’ and ‘Jake Summers’, the majority of the crowd are on the receiving end of repeated jesting from the stage, due to their static state.
Any fool that decides they can heckle tonight, are left in no doubt that our hosts have turned up fully loaded with sharpness and wit, and it will, if needed, be showered upon them.
‘Snore Bore Whore’ is the last of the main set and by now the place is bouncing. For the encore we get two more, ‘Knucklehead’ and ‘Battlestations’. During which, we are invited to join them onstage. There is a mad dash by all here and at the end of the song there is a huge game of pile-on being played centre stage.
A fantastic night with two fantastic bands – the best show I’ve been to for a long time.