Sometimes the hype and shenanigans follow a band wherever they go obscuring the main event, the music. That could well be said of The Fat White Family, a band who never shy away from controversy. But to concentrate purely on the seedy showmanship the band are notorious for would be to do them a disservice, for although the subject matter can cut close to the bone, both the content and delivery of their music can be something akin to pure genius.
First, the lyrics. The subject matter may be shabby sex, perverted desire or terrorist subversion, but the wording on songs such as ‘Touch the Leather’ are pure brilliance. Moving on to the music, the band consist of Jo Panucchi on bass and Dan Lyons on drums supporting sensual guitar played with a brooding air of menace by Saul Adamczewski and Adam Harner. With Nathan Fabian Saoudi on keyboards adding to dusky atmospheric sounds, at times the musical equivalent of a strange art-house movie. Lias Saoudi’s passionate oral delivery completes the fabulously dark vision of life lived on the fringes of society and of the moral redundancy often present at the core of humanity. But then there is more to the music than that. The Fat Whites can also become irritatingly catchy, the deviant, country-inspired humour of the tunes and lyrics playing on loop in your mind at inappropriate moments, giving a twisted levity to the working day.
It was with this in mind I bought a ticket for The Fat White Family/ Growlers gig at The Kazimier. Only one problem – I work until 9pm weeknights so I was only ever going to see the head-liners as I couldn’t get a holiday or throw a sickie. As the bands were supposed to be coin-tossing for that privilege, I didn’t know who I was going to see, but was sure I was going to enjoy the night anyway. Contingency plans made to see The Fat Whites in Manchester later in the year, I waited for the fateful night to arrive.
Getting to the Kazimier at 9.45, much to the bouncers amusement, I could hear The Growlers heady, nostalgic 60’s sound from outside the club. As The Fat Whites had won the right to headline, it was obvious that things were running late. The Growlers music is heavily influenced by another era, but they are none the worse for that. The melodic but upbeat music they produce has distinct overtones of The Doors, but has a lighter feel. Though their influences are obvious, they manage to sound fresh and contemporary. A real crowd pleaser and definitely a band I will be listening to in the future.
Having come in to the gig so late, I’m not sure how long a set The Growlers played, but I saw a lot more of their set than I expected to. I was beginning to think I had read my Twitter feed wrong and had missed the Fat Whites, when The Growlers finally left the stage. Not sure how fans of The Growlers retro groove would take to The Fat Whites, I waited a little nervously for the boys to come on.
Then there they were. Any doubts I had about the involvement of the crowd dissipated before they uttered a word. I was pretty sure The Kazimier was at capacity, the pit at the front in full swing almost from the start. One noticeable absence was that of Saul Adamczewski, at the venue (seen earlier making his way towards the Kaz Garden) but sadly not on stage. No reason given, just a song dedication before ‘Is it Raining in Your Mouth’, a possible indication of dressing room friction? We’ll never know. Not that it ruined the night. The Fat Whites were amazing.