I’m really happy that bands like The Apes exist. They convincingly take you back in time all the way to 1971 or thereabouts, playing music that owes as much to Uriah Heep as the Doors, with a stage presentation to match. The main difference is that Apes keyboardist Amanda Kleinman is a lot cuter than Ray Manzarek or Ken Hensley were even when they were in their prime. Whenever singer Paul Weil, clad in ultratight, low-slung pants, showed a little too much bum cleavage, my eyes darted to the left side of the stage… but let’s talk about how they sounded. I think they could have been a little more together as a band, but each of them individually had the 1970-era stylings down pat. The only thing that was missing was a Ritchie Blackmore-caliber guitarist.
I only saw part of The Apes’ set at Vera tonight because I arrived late expecting them to be the main act when they were in fact opening for Weird War. Weird War didn’t do that much for me. From a strictly musical viewpoint they were better than The Apes: tighter, more technically accomplished, more adventurous. Their white-boy funk was the the sound the Talking Heads would have made in their early days if the Talking Heads had been able to play their instruments properly. However, I couldn’t get past their singer. He seemed to want to be Prince, and while he got pretty close with the sound of his voice, his stage presentation resembled Mick Jagger, circa 1988; in other words he looked a bit of a pillock. That spoiled matters for me a bit although closing my eyes helped. Weird War are a very good band indeed — just not for me.
I left Vera with a 10″ by The Apes. Review to follow.