JAPE – THE BUTTON FACTORY: May 23rd 2009

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God, its 2:37 am on a Saturday night (Ed. Sunday morning A-Hole) and I’m not only still awake but also sober! It’s not that I wasn’t out or can’t get booze, quite the opposite in fact. Tonight, I broke this years tradition of not leaving Dun Laoghaire for love or money and finally succumbed to the enchanting allure of seeing Jape live for the first time in five months and not only that, but I also managed to get back home by twelve, get food and wine (which hasn’t been drunk) and I know a shop where wine can be purchased twenty four hours a day. So why, you ask, am I sitting at home sober, when I could be in a night club right this very moment, telling some fella in a very loud slurry voice how stupid is hat looks and why Def Leppard ARE much cooler than The Killers?

I suppose it all started with getting into Temple Bar much later than planned. It’s amazing how a day doing basically nothing leaves you tired and unmotivated. Anyways, I managed to get in around 9.15, only to discover the gig was sold out. Since I wasn’t going to do a review (sometimes you just need to enjoy a gig and not nit pick), I could only look on at the million page guest list and struggle to keep my hand away from my phone, least I annoy performers. Luckily the ticket man took pity on the last few stragglers and re-opened the desk. There was enough time to run in, grab a pint from one of the most ignorant bar men in Dublin and squeeze past seven million people to the smoking area where my pouch was instantly drenched by some bastard who knocked beer all over the table. Town eh! Fantastic. What’s the point? It’s just 100,000 people who can’t handle their booze, rude bar staff in almost every place, swarms of people packed into every single quirky, gimmicky pub they can scavenge out and their unexplainably bad dress sense (hats, rainbow stockings, big thick military style glasses, cheesy seventies moustaches and hair do’s..etc are not fucking cool people. Try and get your own fucking image for once).So with all of that out of the way, it’s finally time for the show.

I’ve written about Jape so many times in the last two years that the English language can no longer supply me with words on credit. So instead of writing five hundred words about how fantastic Nothing Lasts Forever, Strike Me Down, I Was A Man and all of Japes other deadly tracks are live, I think I’ll write a little about the changes among Japes audience ever since the release of Ritual.

Over the last couple of years, Japes reputation and popularity has been growing at a rapid pace, despite not yet having a hit single or album. Fans are starting to flock to his shows all across the country and Europe for the matter. His biggest hit Floating managed to attract a lot of attention and his well thought out plan to burry it in his live sets and reserve the prime time slots for newer songs of equal perfection has worked exceptionally well. I was A Man is now the standard finisher for Japes set despite first time spectators urging him to play Floating from the word go. It works so well in fact that Jape doesn’t need to rely on this song anymore either and can pretty much do what he likes and get away with it, mostly down to the fact that every time Richie gets on a stage, he gets better and better at being a front man and is falling into the singer role with ease. Tonight’s set isn’t short of surprises either as Mr. Egan arrives on stage alone to open things up with a few quite numbers. Unfortunately for anyone in the audience who paid for a ticket to actually hear the man sing and play, you were disappointed instead, we’re forced into listening to hordes of retarded poncy prick bastards yelling at each other as loud as possible throughout every note, word and melody. The kind of people who have more love for Twitter updates, phone pictures and ‘wacky stories’, than the actual performance of a live show. Off course this is normal enough at an O2 show but I have to admit being a little astonished to see this at a Jape gig. Normally his fans are beyond respectful and attentive. They’re generally hanging on ever second of Japes quiet songs and act privileged to hear him tone things done to the levels of his first and second albums. Alas, this was to be the mood of the evening.

Cleary taken aback by the crowds refusal to ciúnas during the first two songs, Richie turns to Nothing Lasts Forever to dim out the noise of audience and continued into Strike Me Down, Floating and Graveyard which finally managed to subdue most of those in attendance. After a quick smoke (in Temple Bar terms, 15 minutes including the time to actually get in and out), I arrive back to see a great performance of I Was A Man and another new song before introducing the lovely Lisa Hannigan to perform what I hope will be a song from Richie’s next album (title escapes me).  Unfortunately the crowd’s astonishingly rude behaviour sparks up again and the song is kind of destroyed by people all battling to be the louder than the PA. With that, the band leaves the stage only to return for a quick rendition of new song, Technology, which Richie dedicates to the members of the audience who remained quiet during the more mellow numbers.

Overall, a pretty strange gig. It seems that with success, come the inevitable shower of pricks who’ll always destroy the special aspect of what ever they can before they forget it and move onto the next big thing. On a more positive note, at least Richie is finally starting to get the numbers he deserves. Next stop, Marlay Park!

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