20 Feb 2016

The Fat White Family @ Brixton Windmill (live review)


On the dawn of their first UK tour since the release of their incredible Songs For Our Mothers (which I gave a 10/10 in this review here), The Fat White Family hammered through a fucking incredible set at The Windmill - a tiny Brixton pub frequented by the band. Tickets sold out in a snap, and on a rainy night in Brixton, the most exciting, crucial band in the whole of the country set up shop for the night in a 120 capacity venue.

Support came from pub rock band Pit Ponies, who are a six piece that seemed like they've spent more than their share of time in the same Brixton pub. Fronted by a bounding, frizzy haired frontman that endeared himself to the crowd by seeming genuinely grateful to be there and putting so much into the delivery of their grubby, slumping pub rock. Their set was musically shambolic, but in a way that you couldn't help but enjoy - unless you were the friend of mine that sent me the following text during their set before asking me to check my phone at the end; "How many supply teachers does it take to have exactly no impact on a lightbulb? 6."

The Fat Whites were given their usual disarming introduction, and frontman Lias Saoudi clambered through the audience in a loose fitting suit, which was down to the trousers pretty much as soon as the first notes of set opener Tinfoil Deathstar billowed out. Menacing, mesmerising organs and dirty guitars combined to make noise that makes you feel dirty, whilst the wailing falsettos of Lias pierced eardrums in a way that was unsettling at best.

The songs from Songs For Our Mothers sounded more confrontational, more savage and more raw in such an intimate location as fans overflowed onto the tiny stage. The cosmic grooves of Whitest Boy that exist on record became muddied by filthy guitar sounds and a synth sound that likened it to The Fall's Blindness on Jools Holland ten years back. Satisfied was slimey, disgusting, and saw Lias screaming dirge about Holocaust survivor blowjobs from the midst of the sweaty crowd. Goodbye Goebbels was almost beautiful, seeing lead guitarist Saul take lead vocals on a heartfelt ballad of depraved Nazi love - maybe for the first time live.

But the highlights probably came from the classics, the hits, hits, hits so to speak. My personal highlight was the trashy Gun Club-type closer Bomb Disneyland that saw drunken chants at an all time high, as well as a particularly woozy version of Cream of the Young that makes the skin crawl.

The star of the show though was definitely - as always - Lias; the man is a fucking shaman. You can't ignore him, you can't take your eyes off him, and really you can't comprehend him all at once. Shaking and bellowing like a man possessed, he was so mesmerising to watch that I just couldn't help but feel like I was watching something really special every second of the show.

Not many artists in such a culturally fragmented time can claim to be the voice of a generation, and whilst it would be a bold allusion to call Lias, Saul and the rest of The Fat Whites that, the reception to the band's set combined to their live prowess, incredible records and cerebral interviews suggested that the Fat Whites are something special. In this venue especially they exerted such a primal energy and were completely mind blowing in every possible respect. It was almost certainly the gig of 2016, and it left nothing but substantial hyperbole in my mind; but how could it not? The Fat White Family are the best band in the whole fucking universe.