On Thursday the 16th of November I was lucky enough to see Ignacio Lopez’ show ‘Nine Ig Fails’ which told the tale of his humble beginnings in stand-up and his quest to see his favourite 90s industrial rock band, Nine Inch Nails, final concert in LA.
Using this concert as the framework for his show was a bold and unusual choice; however, it allowed the audience to feel involved in his life. We were privy to his unconditional love for the band from the moment he admitted he loves Nine Inch Nails so much that he ‘refuses to use a screw’. Lopez’ mission to get to the concert was definitely high risk and took a few pit stops on the way. These included his teenage years being a goth in his home of Mallorca. As he said, he might have been the only goth to be wearing a long black coat and flip flops simultaneously. He also recounted his first impression of Wales, where he began stand-up, and his father packing his lunch. This consisted of a watermelon, a giant knife and Ignacio being banned from leaving the bus for safety reasons.
The show used a lot of wordplay which resulted in eruptive applause every time. A favourite of mine was his parody song which he claimed was by ‘Fury Against the System’ as opposed to ‘Rage Against the Machine’ for ‘legal reasons’.
Ignacio’s story was set in 2009, for the most part. This was the year of the Nine Inch Nails concert as well as his multiple quests to raise the necessary funds to afford flights to LA. During this period of his life he lived in Newport and was constantly robbed. His father suggested buying a motion detecting light to deter criminals; however, as Lopez noted, ‘criminals are not rabbits’ and therefore this actually aided his robbers to be able to see better when picking his locks. He was also notoriously bad at keeping jobs including PC World, an amusement park with no racial slurs, and Sports Direct where he got the sack for calling customers ‘over-sized mugs’. This was also the period where his co-workers at Vue rallied at his other job, playing music at the local bar, to convince the owner to let Lopez perform in the comedy open mic. Ignacio recounted that the owner said no then reassessed when he saw the money he would be losing if the whole of Vue Newport left his bar.
The second half was told through Lopez’ old gigs. I enjoyed this style however I found it slightly distracting and thought it was unnecessary. I must, however, commend how well he set the scene of each gig. The first being a working men’s club where people threw coins at him to see how long he could withstand it before fleeing from the stage. The jokes that he supposedly told during these gigs were funny in their own right and didn’t require the elaborate settings which he provided. However, I still enjoyed the elaborate story-telling aspect of this section. The next gig described was for a fundraiser of which Lopez wasn’t informed of the cause. He went on to say a joke about how Newport was a ‘stabby town’ (in reference to the knife-crime epidemic) where he is met with silence. Only afterwards is he informed that the fundraiser was for a knife crime victim’s family. Luckily, the family saw the humour in it and said that their son was in heaven ‘pissing himself laughing’. The last was a military gig for soldiers who had recently returned from Afghanistan. After hearing his support act play to a crowd of no laughs, Lopez was understandably nervous. When he went out, he told all his best material and no one laughed. One soldier even said it was the worst night of his life. Thankfully, the audience had placed a bet that the first to laugh had to buy a round and later they told Ignacio that they were really struggling. These troubling and insane gigs showed the Leeds audience how badly he wanted to go to this concert and the hoops he would’ve jumped through to get to LA. Eventually, he had to sell his guitar and was able to make the pilgrimage to LA via a plane to New York and a cross country Greyhound to his destination.
After constantly teasing the audience with the idea of an encore, he came back on stage after the final applause to sing a parody song of Rihanna's umbrella. The theme of the song was how much Spanish natives hate British tourists. Instead of ‘umbrella’, Lopez used ‘cut back on the Stella-ella-ella’. At the top-end of the show, Ignacio shared that music is his first love, and comedy is a close second, so he wanted to close the show with the last song that his own band ever wrote before they disbanded in early 2009 (before the show was set). After a night of laughter, everyone in The Wardrobe listened intently to this beautiful song. As an audience member, it felt like a full-circle moment for Lopez and I felt honoured to have witnessed it.
Words: Kate Moxon, she/her
Image: Flick Morris