Long awaited return of The Chap to Guided Missile Special People Club!
The Chap are a really funny band. They’re like something out of a good comic – they’re like wry, nerdy superheroes. What they are not is a comedy band, and to dismiss them thusly would be to completely overlook their worth.
Their intentions are clear from the outset. They make an awful lot of jagged, cheerful noise, and periodically STOP! And freeze pose. And resume movement, and repeat. They dress like former CBBC characters who never gave up the dream; the night’s winning look is a hard-fought battle between hairy guitarist Panos Ghikas’ neat running shorts and drummer Keith Duncan’s fabulous Wurzels-esque facial topiary, accessorised with a beaming grin. They pursue the surreal, am-dram stage attitude with zeal, but back it up fearlessly with an arsenal of infectious, upside-down pop.
Comparisons with Devo will be made, and while they perhaps share a soul and a mutual sense of determined oddity, The Chap’s output is more erratic and frenzied than Devo’s streamlined weirdness. Shredded bows hack at cellos, staccato riffs jerk back and forth and singer Johannes von Weizsäcker (what a name!) lurches goggle-eyed about the stage, losing a fight with his guitar, and announcing before every song, ‘You’re gonna love it!’. The drummer demonstrates a delighted fascination with a plastic bottle, analysing it from all sides like Kubrick’s gorillas in A Space Odyssey, before returning efficiently to the task at hand.
Despite the studied eccentricity, there’s a keen, taut sense of purpose, never more evident than during a fervent, Patrick Henry-paraphrasing chant of “Give me surrender or give me death / Give me my life back or give me death”; their ‘us vs everyone else’ attitude recalls the Fall at their most defiant. Their antics perfectly punctuate their songs, marching poses and freeze-frame shapes emphasising the frenetic rhythm and imaginative structure rather than distracting from it. Ask anyone in the front row what they think of The Chap, and… well, you may have to wait. They’re too busy flailing about and out-frenzying their heroes.
People say there’s a delicate line between finely tuned, quirky genius and ill-advised wackiness. It’s actually a really thick line, and The Chap know exactly which side they’re on. Only those with the emotional limitations of a potato could fail to be filled with grinning pleasure by The Chap. They inspire absolute devotion from a flailing, joyous crowd, and deservedly so. – Charponnaise