Disclaimer: Jape are one of my favourite bands, so unless singer Richie does something absolutely shocking and terrible onstage, I’m probably going to love the gig. Jape are responsible for kicking off the Dirty Weekender at the Pavilion in Cork. As it’s a late gig things could have been messy, but we never really reach this stage. One interesting thing I’ve found about late gigs, particularly in Cork, is that no matter how late the support band is on, people will still only be trickling in at that stage. So it is for Saint Yorda, a young Cork group still getting to grips with the live stage. Having only seen them once before, in the now defunct An Réalt Dearg supporting We Are Losers, I was hoping they had improved. Thankfully, they have, filling the room with their Clap Your Hands Say Radiohead vibe. I think they’d be much better if they did try to hit each note rather than yelping around it. Time will tell if the Saint can become a legend.
And so onto Jape. The autotune is ditched for opener ‘One Of Those Days That Just Feels So Long’ and sadly the best line sung by any Irish band last year, “You picked up crystal and showed it to me, I said I think it’s graphite I’d have to see. You said no graphite’s darker than that Richie, this is quart,” gets a little lost in the cavernous Pavilion. Jape’s set tonight is made up of reworked versions of tracks from the Choice-winning Ritual and the Choice-nominated Ocean of Frequency. The former are transformed into dance beasts, not least ‘Graveyard’, which gets an extended intro and some guitar whackery for an outro. I interviewed Richie on the release of the latest album a few months back and asked does he get bored still playing ‘Floating’. Seeing it performed last night, I find myself as enamoured by it as ever. No longer a guitar riff-driven track, it centres on a repeated, falsetto’d “flo-oo-oo-oo-oo-oo-oo-ting”. I could go on about how great the rest of the tracks were – I’d love a recorded live set – but a few other things. The songs are made for a rave to kick off. By all accounts, that happened the previous night in Limerick – Richie says it was one of the best gigs the band have ever played – but tonight, things never really kick off. Richie manages to lose the crowd too, claiming the best pint of Guinness is in Leitrim. He also revealed he’s leaving Ireland for Sweden and that last night was his final Cork show as a full-on Irish band. The next time we see him he could look like this. Here’s hoping. More pictures after the jump from Bríd O’Donovan.