3rd May | O2 Academy
Photos: Lee Ramsey
With songs with names such as ‘Bomb Disneyland’ and ‘Goodbye Goebbels’ in their repertoire, not to mention their well-documented struggles with heroin addiction, it’s an understatement to say that London’s Fat White Family have never shied away from controversy.
With this in mind, I was curious and intrigued to see the band’s new label Domino claim that “Fat White Family have broken previous default patterns of behaviour, and as such their third album heralds a new day dawning,” in their summary of new album, Serfs Up! and how this supposed new era for the group would translate to their live tour. This rebirth was seemingly inspired by frontman Lias Saoudi and lead guitarist Saul Adamczewski’s decision to briefly part ways and work on other projects, before getting the group back together. What I found was a band with a real dedication to their craft, but who have not lost sight of the inherent scuzziness that gave them a unique appeal in the first place.
In a left-field decision, typical of Fat White Family, the lights dimmed, and out blared the Islamic call to prayer as the band took to the stage amidst whoops of appreciation from the excited crowd. The next hour to follow was exhilarating and thoroughly entertaining, proving without a doubt why the seven piece continue to pack out venues. Throughout, singer, Lias Saoudi was a magnetic frontman, in equal parts engaging and distant, but he kept the audience’s attention throughout. There wasn’t a weak track amongst the set we were treated to, and throughout the evening, the crowd moshed and sang, with flying cups of beer often punctuating the music.
The songs that got the strongest reaction from the appreciative crowd included 2014’s earworm of a breakout track, ‘Touch The Leather, I Am Mark E Smith’ and new single, ‘Tastes Good With The Money’. However, the absolute highlight of the evening for me was undoubtedly the band’s performance of ‘Whitest Boy On The Beach’ from their 2016 album, Songs For Our Mothers, which had the whole place erupting with a rowdy singalong and plenty of motion. From this reaction, it’s safe to say this was a crowd favourite. I’m sure that this was helped by its inclusion on the end credits of T2: Trainspotting, cementing its place in that film franchise’s iconic list of songs.
Unfortunately, due to a curfew at the venue, the set finished after an hour with no encore, but both the band and crowd could have happily stayed longer for more. From this gig and the success of the rightfully acclaimed Serfs Up!, it seems their three years away has well and truly paid off.
See the video for ‘Tastes Good With The Money’ here: