Tex Perkins assembled a line-up of old mates to celebrate the first visit West of his newest outfit The Ape, starting off with The Painkillers, featuring his old Beasts Of Bourbon mate James Baker on drums and a pure rock n’ roll vibe distilled from listening to hours of ‘70s Rolling Stones and Velvet Underground records.
Next up, KISStake, in all their wobbly, costumed & grease-painted glory. Introduced by Tex as the ‘nottest’ band in the world, Poor Stanley, Fake Frehley & co (rechristened in Simian fashion for the occasion as Paul Panzee, Ape Frehley, Gene Simian and Peter Chimp) ran through a crowd-pleasing set of early KISS classics. It’s high camp tongue-in-cheek fun foreplay for the highlight of the night, and most of the crowd lapped it up like the cats that got the cream.
Tex’s The Ape is as rawsome a ragtag collection of rockers as we’ve seen from this most prolific underground icon – no mean feat when his legacy includes The Cruel Sea, The Beasts Of Bourbon and much more besides. Raul Sanchez from Magic Dirt coaxes slab-sized riffage from his guitar one moment, atmospheric noise the next, while Pat Bourke and Gus Agars – both alumni of Tex’s solo and Dark Horses projects and a host of other acts – hold down the rollingest rock rhythm section since The Stones. Bourke also impresses on electric piano for a couple of tracks.
Tex himself swaggers and staggers left of stage, stabbing at his guitar and growling like the big Ape he is, leading the band through their debut album and a couple of extras. Few bands can rock this hard, but The Ape aren’t a hard rock band: they have more groove, feel and throb than that. The music oozes sex, and the players are so good they hold that intensity, teasing way past the anticipation level – but crucially, before the point of climax – all night long. This Ape is a Don Juan.
Rockers rocked, dancers danced, lovers grinded closely – hell, one guy dressed in an outfit that The Sweet may well have worn and forgotten to wash 30 years ago even gyrated on a table for a few songs, and no-one got hurt. Rock n’ roll power: Ape Power!
Finally, the night ended with a rousing encore rendition of Kiss’s C’Mon And Love Me, performed by both The Ape and KISStake – APEtake, if you like – Tex duetting with Paul Panzee and having a great time in the process. It was a helluva way to end the funnest, sweatiest night we can recall in a very long time.