Fake Fruit | Botanique, Witloof Bar | Brussels, Belgium | 9 November, 2022
People slowly straggle in to the Botanique’s smallest venue this Wednesday evening, taking a little longer than usual due to today’s general strike. The Oakland-based four-piece has been touring Europe for the past month in support of their debut, eponymously titled album that was released via Rocks In Your Head Records in 2021. Fake Fruit – made up of Hannah D’Amato (vocals, guitar), Alex Post (guitar, vocals), Miles MacDiarmid (drums) and Dylan Allard (bass, vocals) – take the stage.
Launching into ‘Yolk’, Fake Fruit immediately show what a tight group they are. There is a Television-like quality to the song, mixing up melodies before taking it full throttle. In between songs, D’Amato comments on Brussels’ decibel-level ordinance of 100db, “This is so funny. We’ve never had to be so quiet.” Fake Fruit take the decibel ordinance in stride though, not something Kevin Shields was willing to do several years back when I saw My Bloody Valentine, which involved a lot more complaining.
Halfway through ‘I Am the Car’, the sound on D’Amato’s guitar begins to periodically vanish. Allard rushes to aid D’Amato figure out the cause of the problem. Easy-going as ever, D’Amato smiles, explaining, “This has been a weird tour…Alex’s amp blew up,” Allard adds, “there was one show where no one came. Then there was this festival with a bunch of pop punk bands that all sounded like Blink-182,” D’Amato concludes, “we played a great set, but no one was into us so it was wasted on them.” After fiddling some more with the guitar, Allard good-naturedly asks the crowd, “If anyone’s got a soldering iron on them, see me after the show!”. The band decides to carry on despite technical difficulties.
Fake Fruit powers on for the remainder of their set, going with the flow and making the best out of the situation. In between ‘Milkman’ and ‘Over Ice’ (a one-off they recorded for compilation album The Eleventh Hour: Songs for Climate Justice), the band declares they stand in solidarity with those taking part in the general strike, wishing that the US had similar demonstrations.
Fake Fruit conclude their electrifying set, allowing themselves to not be daunted by any setbacks. In true punk spirit, they improvised and worked around the unexpected. Not only did they manage to deliver a killer set, but they gave the perfect example of how to handle the unexpected as a band. Herein lies the biggest take-away from this concert: sometimes the best way to experience a band is to see how they cope with the nearly constant unexpected dilemmas that pop up while playing live. An uncohesive band combusts, but a staunch band excels, which is exactly what Fake Fruit did. The audience was impressed, captivated and had a wonderful night out. Before exiting the stage, Hannah D’Amato proclaims, “It’s been a mess, but hopefully it’s been a cute mess.” Hannah, it was the cutest mess ever.
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