Jape at The Academy – Review
“We’ve been looking forward to this for a long time,” Richie Egan tells the huddled faithful early on in the night, who have clearly been waiting a long time themselves and both seemed happy with how proceedings went in The Academy as the band kicked off the Irish and UK leg of the touring for new album This Chemical Sea.
Arriving on to a stage bathed in red light, Egan looks relaxed and casual in jeans and sweatshirt as a cacophony of electronically assisted whoops and whirls introduces the first track of the night, Breath of Life. It’s the first of many tunes from the new album that get an airing.
In spite of the newness of most of the material, the crowd still seem to know it pretty well and gleefully sing along to the likes of The Heart’s Desire and Metamorphosis, the latter of which features amazingly tight bass and drums between Egan and drummer Paul Kenny. They make up two thirds of Jape tonight, with Kenny on the drums to Egan’s right and Glenn Keating on all sorts of electronic whirligigs on the other side of the stage.
It’s a minimalist approach that delivers a huge sound and takes the crowd on some interesting sonic meanderings. I Go features some great little breakdowns while Ribbon Ribbon Ribbon also goes down a treat and is dedicated to Egan’s cousin Jeffrey who is moving to Canada. Best of lucky Jeffrey, you jammy git.
As with Jape’s recorded output, there’s something intriguing about Egan’s voice. It’s fragile and at times sounds like it’s about to go off-key but never quite manages to do so. It is assisted by a second mic that Egan uses to great effect, with some interesting vocoder style vocals thrown in on a few songs.
While it’s great to hear so much of the new material live and getting a great response from the crowd, the biggest cheers of the night were always going to be reserved for some of the old favourites. Ocean of Frequency goes down a treat early in the set but the biggest reaction comes towards the end of the night, with a blissed out version of Floating being rapturously received by the crowd and the funky, indie-dance of I Was A Man making it impossible for heads not to bob along.
All in all, a solid night’s work from Jape before they head off on to Galway and Limerick and on to the UK. Judging by the reception that their new material received tonight, they may have to make room on the mantelpiece for a third Choice Music Prize in the not too distant future.