I’m in Krakow at the moment, about a week into a month-long wander through Europe ending at Lowlands in Holland. I’ve been to Vienna, Bratislava and Auschwitz so far and I’ll be in Warsaw by tomorrow night, but in keeping with my diligent efforts to conscientiously document my entire experience of live music, I am going to blog for a minute between checking e-mails and train timetables in a net cafe.
I saw Gipsy Kings accidently in a square in the middle of the Old City in Krakow last night. They were pretty funny. Latin rhythm, tourists shaking their bum-bags, gypsy dancers gypsy dancing. My girlfriend loved it. She was brought up on the Gipsy Kings. I, on the other hand, was discovering them for the first time apart from that Bombolayo song that I didn’t know was by them.
It was funny. I laughed. The singer kept saying “Polskaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” even though everyone in the square at 10 on a Sunday was an American tourist or a stag night. An experience.
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Okay, the title is a little strong. Fight Like Apes releasing Something Global in Tower Records. It’s pretty much a consensus opinion from people I’ve talked to that the single is bad and sounds like sickly polished pop-punk. It sounds like that live too. Even their good songs (including the one that contains the line this blog is named after) are losing edge and gaining polish. I really, really, really did not want to be sitting here saying “I liked their early stuff” before the album even came out. But it’s hard not to.
Their best songs have been the same ones since way back when. Jake Summers and Lend Me Your Face. They’re still good, but the bite’s not there any more. It used to seem like May Kay was going to climb off the stage, grab your skull, put a foot on the wall for leverage and rip your face off whether or not you wanted her to. It’s not like that any more.
Without the roughshod, grinning lunatic side, they’re just another band. Just another Hooray For Humans. That minute change in mood makes the kitschness and the pop culture pillaging seem more contrived than inspired.
I assume the album’s going to sound like Something Global, production-wise, and have the boring songs (i.e. anything not on the first EP or some of the second EP) on it. There’s still a chance they could write 10 great songs in the next year or so and come out with a good second album, because all the things that made them so good are still hanging around somewhere underneath the Mr. Muscle approach. But as it stands, I don’t know. I’m really sad about making this post. But whatever.
Grand Pocket Orchestra, you’re up.
Something I do occasionally is make music on my four track. It is usually layered up with fake versions of things like French horns and Moog sounds. It’s about things varying from date rape in the Abbasid empire to Macbeth, taking in city-tiredness and feelings of resignation on the way. I call it/myself Treehouses.
On Thursday I’ll be supporting Ugly Megan and Disconnect The Dots in Anseo on Camden St. I won’t have the layers of French horns, but I will have electric piano, drum machine and Fender Stratocaster with which to back myself up. I’ll be playing for about 25 minutes, some time not long after 8 o’clock.
The €6.50 door price goes on financing a ‘zine that the Indie Bar Kid is trying to print, which contains such interesting things as this interview with So Cow, a rambly piece on Nitelink music by me, and a Reviews section set in 1995 (again including reviews of Tupac and Green Day by me, as well as Pavement, Pulp and much more).
Come down and watch. I’m not promising anything, but come anyway.