A welcome return to B-Town for the funky Israeli nine piece who are on a short tour of the UK to promote their new album “Fly on it”. They’re led by Yoni Halevy, a funky drummer who can play anything from Clyde Stubblefield breakbeat mayhem to lightning fast drum ‘n’ bass patterns to Elvin Jones jazz stylings – versatile to say the least. The rest of the band include a double bass player, four man brass section of trombone, trumpet, soprano/tenor sax and baritone sax and the two man DJ team, “The Mixmaster” and “The Schoolmaster”. So there’s eight of them on stage and a further member monitoring their sound from the back of the venue and adding digital effects.
It’s a fast, furious, danceable and energetic set, with all band members sweating after the first two numbers. With obvious influences the JB’s as a starting point, The Apples also love getting this busy venue involved in chants and syncopated hand claps. Opening the set with the baritone led sax introduction of “Chemical Sniffer” from their 2005 album “Attention”, they proceed through a selection of storming horn driven songs from all their albums to date.
Vocal phrases and whole sections of lyrics are expertly cut in by both DJs, adding lyrical accompaniment in amongst all the instrumentation. The biggest reception is still reserved for their cover version of Rage Against The Machine’s “Killing in the name of”, which is still a clever re-interpretation of the song, The Schoolmaster additionally mixing in the whole of Chuck D’s first verse from “Bring the noise”.
I’ve yet to check out the new album but the songs they played off it have the trademark Apples sound – intense, funky drumming, walking basslines and great horn riffs. When the individual members of the brass section get a chance to solo it’s apparent they have chops, the tenor sax player in particular blowing up a storm.
Always a great band to see/hear/experience/love. The Apples are my kind of people.