The most ridiculous game Fight Like Apes have heard being played by other touring bands? “Having sex with each other. Loads of bands do that”
One game sucks musicians in again and again, and that is, oddly, Connect 4. Kanye West and Common are big fans, but the leading light in Connect 4 is one of the most anticipated acts at Oxegen on Sunday, Beyoncé, whose abilities gained somewhat mythical status among touring musicians (as Kanye West revealed a few years ago, “every now and then people would speak of this legendary Connect 4 champion: Beyoncé.”
West played the game “for hours and hours – it helped me zone out” while on tour in Europe. In 2008 he got his opportunity to play Beyoncé in Las Vegas at Jay-Z’s 40/40 club. Out of 10 games, Beyoncé beat him nine times. Subsequently, footage surfaced online of the rapper Consequence playing Jay-Z. Consequence later gave an interview to MTV on the back of promoting his debut album. “We went at it [Connect 4] when we was on the Glow tour [West’s 2008 Glow in the Dark tour, which featured Rihanna, Lupe Fiasco, N.E.R.D. and Nas]. Jay flew out for the show. I had just finished snappin’ everybody. Shout out to Common, he took a whole bunch of asswhippings. Me and Kanye go back and forth . . . Kanye is good. He’ll play me until I get disinterested, then start whippin’ my ass. Then I’ll come back the next day and whip his ass.”
Consequence was pretty much unbeatable, thanks to a strategy he formulated that saw him win almost every game until Jay-Z cracked his code. “It’s a brain game, like chess,” Consequence told MTV when he finally surrendered the Connect 4 crown to Jay-Z. to a shop we’d put random objects in his manbag: cheeses, dental cleaners, random stuff really. The idea was to find the stupidest combination of stuff for him to steal unwittingly. Things with tags were a necessity. Then you stand back and watch him trying to leave the shop through the security gates.”
The band is now on Champ 2.0: similar name, remarkably different concept. “This game also requires an extremely patient tour manager. You wait for any opportunity to get their phone. Send a message to every promoter or artist liaison on the tour saying how much you are looking forward to meeting them, how you had a good feeling about them and that you felt that you really connected when you talked earlier.
“Guessing their favourite colour in advance can also add a lot to the outcome. When you arrive at a gig you get to witness the sheer awkwardness of it all: your tour manager being really friendly and down-toearth and the promoter being terrified and sketchy.”
The most ridiculous game Fight Like Apes have heard being played by other touring bands? “Having sex with each other. Loads of bands do that. We prefer Champ.” The Minutes, who play the Vodafone Stage at Oxegen on Saturday, are fans of “mind games” on tour, although they also admit to having a weakness for Fifa, Zelda and slot machines. Sticking to computer games and gambling seems preferable to the strenuous game they heard Dizzee Rascal was playing recently.
“When he was on tour in the States, he would make the whole bus – band and crew – get out and do 40 laps around the bus every time they stopped at a service station,” The Minutes inform us, “because they were eating shite and playing Xbox, and Dizzee said no.”
The Minutes used to make up quizzes on tour, but not any more. “We tried to make up a game once on the way to Cork. The last question was ‘name all the parts of the fanny’. Never played that game again.”
So be it playing football with Delorentos or Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? on their iPhones with Royseven, stretching before going on stage with The Coronas via the art of hula-hooping, or trying to beat Twister experts Scouting for Girls, the art of the band game lives on, perhaps stronger than ever.