Fat White Family


Fat White Family’s performance at Manchester’s glorious Ritz offers an insight into the wild minds of its members, who, seemingly possessed by seedy, dark forces, are as ever electric and uncompromising.

Rifling through delicious tracks from their small yet juicy back catalogue, FWF seem to have a real connection with the Manchester crowd. With lots of jumping, alcohol lobbing and shirtless indie boy antics, the atmosphere quickly ascends from eager anticipation into a frenzy of conductive bodies waiting for the slamming songs to manifest.

‘Tinfoil Deathstar’, for example, is a stark reminder of the seemingly infinite groove that oozes from the group’s musicianship. Front man Lias in particular embodies a bassless, white Larry Graham whose showmanship is unparalleled.

Through many meaningless wired and tangled conversations with musical peers and my dad, I often talk of how the Fat Whites are the spark which has spawned a thousand new bands, channeling an aggression of rock n roll which hasn’t been seen for many years. Bands such as Cabbage, Shame, Idles and Fontaines D.C. – although very different in sound and tone – are the bastard children of an act who dared to feature a naked, schlong God pig pope on their debut record Champagne Holocaust (2014).

This aesthetic for me sums up the band perfectly. Once again, renditions of seedy tunes like ‘Touch the Leather’, ‘Feet’ and ‘Whitest Boy on the Beach’ are hitting perfectly and the crowd are in hyperspace. A very sweaty, dirty and ultimately student -based hyperspace but a hyperspace nonetheless; whatever the fuck a “hyperspace” is.

Fictional, half assed, can’t be bothered to research descriptions aside, it’s the third cut of the night which certainly has my attention. The last time I saw Fat White Family was at Sound City 2015, the last song I saw being ‘I Am Mark E Smith’. I in fact walked out after a few songs that night due to a shirt I found in poor taste. Without going into too much detail, it prodded at the open wound of Hillsborough in a way which may have been ironic and obviously a joke or piece of art performance, but still a bit of a shit one nonetheless. I was angry, and I think this has affected how I view the band. In a way, I wish their music wasn’t as catchy and entertaining as it is, and this part of the show only seems to remind me so.

Regardless of my pathetic inner troubles, Fat Whites continue to entertain with other obscene songs such as ‘Cream of the Young’, which was in fact the first thing I consumed from the UK band. I highly recommend the video if you somehow haven’t seen it: whipped cream, Hitler taches and ibuprofen (lyric) are the mode.

To conclude then, I can appreciate the musicianship and entertainment factor, their music is certainly provocative and so is their image. However, I think I’m done with Fat White Family. For so long the voice of Lias and saucy licks from Saul have been the soundtrack to my messy four year spell at the trojan horse of “education” (University). Alas, their impeccable sound tonight is only making me more resentful.

I do wish them well though, Serfs Up (2019) is a sensational record, but I think a part of my fondness for the group died at Liverpool Sound City, likely to never heal.

Well done everyone, God bless.

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Liverpool born music writer with passion for punk and Everton FC