FAT WHITE FAMILY – O2 FORUM KENTISH TOWN, LONDON 15.05.19
It seems as though Fat White Family have been popping up quite a bit recently in Brighton. There was the in store appearance at Resident music on Monday 22nd April, then their sold out gig at the Concorde 2 on Thursday 2nd May, followed by their appearance at The Deep End – Beach Site on Saturday 11th May as part of The Great Escape new music festival. So we thought that we had better had return the favour for the South Londoners and head off to the Kentish Town Forum.
In a recent interview with the band in The Guardian, Fat White Family vocalist Lias Kaci Saoudi explained that the band had largely rid themselves of their narcotic and alcohol demons, and were now frequenting spas and gyms rather than bars and crack dens. Also came the revelation that the new album ‘Serf’s Up!’ features flute solos courtesy of Lias’ brother Nathan.
Thankfully none of these apparent changes have done anything to erode Fat White Family’s edginess as a live band. Lias is stripped to the waist as usual, and has shaved his head, apart from at the back where long locks continue to reside. As previously, he spends a great deal of his time crowd-surfing, with the result that audience members occasionally ‘assist’ with the vocals. The aforementioned flute solos are also not as pastoral as I had feared. More than anything they remind me of frantic modern jazz. That Nathan refrains from standing on one leg al la Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson is also something of a relief.
‘Serf’s Up!’ is heavily represented tonight, including set-opener ‘When I Leave’. ‘Tastes Good With The Money’ includes a cameo from Baxter Dury, who also featured on the record. I’d spotted him enjoying a drink outside the Bull and Gate prior to the show, and so hoped he may appear. (We reviewed his gig supporting Noel Gallagher & The High Flying Birds last year – read it HERE).
The Fat White Family 2014 singles ‘I Am Mark E Smith’ and ‘Touch The Leather’ get an airing, but nothing from ‘Champagne Holocaust’ appears until towards the end of the show when we get ‘Cream Of The Young’ and closer ‘Bomb Disneyland’, which gets an absolutely raucous reception. There is no encore, and why should there be? ‘Bomb Disneyland’ is pretty much impossible to follow.
Fat White Family occupy an interesting position at the moment: they can sell out the Forum, but Joe Public has pretty much no idea who they are. They remind me of Hawkwind in the 1970’s and early 1980’s, when they had a large underground following, but the general public were ignorant of their very existence. Maybe that was the best news about tonight’s gig – there is still some semblance of a counter-culture in the UK.
More info on Fat White Family HERE.
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