Lias Saudi ignores the screeching feedback and bobs up and down the stage like some sort of crazed predator.
“I hope he gets his knob out” are the first words heard from an understandably overexcited individual standing in the never-ending queue into The Fleece. All are bright and cheerful but clearly suffering with sore anticipation to see the wonderful disorderly musical mess of London rascals Fat White Family. Arriving at a time I thought was early; The Fleece is already flocked out with a good measure of sorts that you would expect to show.
Brighton based psych-surf group The Wytches are a good way through their set and it seems unusual that we are all still waiting for entry; or are these Fat Whites a bigger deal than we thought? It has been known that 2013 debut ‘Champagne Holocaust’ received heavy praise from the press – but how it is projected in live performance is the main question. Having tossed a coin with Californians The Growlers on who should headline, the Fat Whites take to stage first.
Looking ahead and suddenly aware that the soles of my shoes are already condemned to the floor by the stick of spilt beer; I am pleasantly surprised to see that my predictions are true as a pile of bewildered, pale but alluring looking white trash are suddenly scattered accordingly across the humble stage. As soon as the beat hits in heavy; lead singer Lias Saudi ignores the screeching feedback and bobs up and down the stage like some sort of crazed predator; an unknown extinct creature similar to that of an exotic bird seeking prey, little does he know, first song in and he’s already caught it. It doesn’t take long for the inevitable removal of his shirt either, which is thrown carelessly aside along with a long swig of violently shaken bottled beer. Now successfully warmed up; third song in ‘Cream Of The Young’ responds well; causing crowd moshing and more spilt drinks.
One thing I notice straight away is that although ego is somewhat present (as it is with most alright bands who have reached a reasonable amount of success) they seem to be engaging with the audience in a way that keeps things casual and carefree, it’s almost as if they could be playing in a mates lounge for payment of a few cans. They are a little disjointed anyway I might add (although not in the literal sense, just yet) and at the moment I am unsure if this is genuine or contrived; after a while I put it down to the influence from the probable various stimulants backstage.
Mid-set eyes are locked as Saudi and guitarist Saul (sporting the most beautiful baby blue VOX teardrop I have ever seen) share a cheeky grin for a sonic second right before Lias throws his head back so far and lets out a scream so loud all the veins in his forehead are protruding angrily, I am thankful when he takes a break to rehydrate, but things are firing up as Saul kicks him spontaneously into the crowd and therefore he is forced to crowd surf, almost falling to the ground but of course making it back to his safe landing (thanks to the safety net of his loyal fans). I watch intrigued as they grab at his skin which is nicely soiled with cold hard sweat and copy this trend, some falling to the hard concrete with regret.
There are definite psychedelic elements with early Pink Floyd type influences heard in the thick heavy organ flowing steadily through the set complimenting Syd Barrett’s quirky laid back vocals but then that’s all shattered and spat on by animalistic shrieking, similar to those of Syd Vicious of the Sex Pistols, send Syd and Syd round to a party with Iggy Pop, The Cramps and The Fall and there we have it, a gathering who aren’t short of attention and similarities.
After what seems like a short but fair set they all pretend to leave the stage, but then reappear like a bunch of mental hooligans; Getting back into it with one of my personal favorites ‘Touch The Leather’. Probably one of the most dirty sex-derived songs yet to note – “Me and my baby gonna touch that leather” Saudi repeats again and again whilst staring intently, daggers in his eyes, raspy, heavy breathing, exuding similar charms to those of Jarvis Cocker of Pulp.
Co-headliners The Growlers, noted for their controversial ‘Beach Goth’ mix of psychedelic fuzz waves teamed with heavy effects had a tough act to follow after FWF’s performance; but despite the good hair there was little to keep my attention, infact I noticed a moderate array of people took this opportunity for a cigarette break. Songs are not hugely distinguishable and Brooks Nielsen (lead singer) sounded out like a slurred less superior version of Arctic Monkeys front man Alex Turner. He also wasn’t holding back to inform the audience on how “high” he was, man.
Fat White Family may not have all the songs but in my opinion it’s their dirty raw and refreshing live performances that have caused all this hysteria so far, it’s why people will keep returning to their shows and what will ultimately keep them in the eye of the media. Expect more naked and outrageous happenings from these disgraceful beings in the near future.
The Wytches are due to play a headline show at Exchange this October, if this gig was anything to go by then we’d advise not wearing your best shirt. Ticket link here.
Check out ‘Touch The Leather’ right here: