Photography: John Latham / @mrjohnlatham

Fat White Family

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  • Working Men's Club
  • Silent-K
Harvest Sun @ Invisible Wind Factory 26/11/19

There’s a noticeable mix of ages in the audience tonight. This admittedly comes as something of a surprise before recalling FAT WHITE FAMILY’s magnetism as a politically charged, notoriously controversial collective active since their post-squatter days in London.

To start we have SILENT-K. Dressed in bizarre safari-like uniform and featuring a synth player dressed as a beekeeper, the Liverpool band raise the audience’s spirits with their bright, catchy rock n roll sound. Even The Zutons’ Dave McCabe joins the band on stage to provide additional vocals, gaining a certain level of interest from the increasing onlookers. The upbeat and sprightly riffs lead by energetic frontman Chris Taylor succeed in taking the night off to a lively start.

The final support act are the much talked-about WORKING MEN’S CLUB from Todmorden. Eager to make an impression on a FWF fan-dominated audience, fresh-faced frontman Sydney Minsky-Sargeant does his best Ian Curtis impression as he marches up and down the front of the stage with a rollie in his mouth. Donning a silk shirt, mullet and sideburns is Rob Graham (formerly of Wet Nuns) who expertly switches from drum machine to synth to guitar throughout the set.

Fat White Family Image 3

For a band actively trying to avoid wearing their ‘Manchester band’ tags so overtly, the New Order influences and Fall influences are still difficult to shake off. But the distinctive 80s synth melodies go down a storm with the crowd. The lasting result is impressive and causes quite a stir with the audience.

Shuffling from the darkness with a Dickensian demeanour, Fat White Family appear like Fagin’s boys all grown-up as they stumble onto the stage armed with beers. It’s a strong start as the seven-piece launch into Auto Neutron from their debut Champagne Holocaust. It feels like a matter of seconds before frontman Lias Saoudi is over the rail and submerged into the crowd, instantly causing a frenzied atmosphere which is sustained throughout the entire set. Soft-spoken vocals and Brian Jonestown Massacre-tinged guitar melodies slowly build and unfold into chaotic distortion, resulting in Lias screaming and reeling around on the floor.

"Decadent, danceable and at times downright dirty, their sound packs a punch, leaving the crowd brimming with awe" Deborah Bassett

Distinctively sleazy guitar riffs lull us into another FWF classic, I Am Mark E Smith, sounding more confident and chaotic than ever. Touch The Leather goes down a treat, and is transformed into an unlikely singalong anthem, as the onlookers relish in singing Lias’ own tongue-in-cheek, seedy lines back to him as he wades his way through the crowd. Disco stomper Feet sounds like the anthem it truly is. With Lias perched shirtless on the rail looking intently out into the crowd, motioning his hands along to the Algerian-dance influenced sound like a demented composer, he looks on knowing his confidence in their performance is completely justified.

The band members depart the stage halfway through the set to allow the cartoonish Saul Adamczewski lead on the vocals for a strangely moving rendition of Goodbye Goebbels, with the addition of Alex White’s saxophone adds a late-night bar feel to the track. The rest of the band members return to the stage for the sinister When I Leave, which oozes the sophistication and prowess which pervade their latest album, Serfs Up!.

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Rounding off a triumphant set, FWF end on two sure-fire hits Whitest Boy On The Beach and Is It Raining in your Mouth? – both of which sound explosive tonight. “Five sweaty fingers with a criminal impatience,” yells Lias with demonic fury, recalling the savagery of Johnny Rotten as the band sweetly harmonise their backing vocals in juxtaposition.

With a surprising lack of tracks from their latest record, the band instead give us the ultimate FWF set, reminding us of their formidable talent as musicians, and Lias’ ability as a songwriter. Decadent, danceable and at times downright dirty, their sound packs a punch this evening and the crowd leaves IWF brimming with awe. For a band riddled with controversies and (un)intentionally pissing people off, it feels like they gave it their everything to inspire a community spirit in Liverpool tonight.

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