Fat White Family are the greatest young rock band in the UK and this probably extends to the rest of the world as well. What’s that? You want to know more? Christ on callipers, ok, let’s see what we’ve got here then…
It won’t come as news to anyone who has been to one of their regular Slide-In nights at their local pub and HQ, The Queens Head in Brixton, South London but for a band that only really coalesced as the Fat White Family in 2011, the six piece have already got several once-in-a-lifetime/ ‘OMG - were you there?’ gigs under their belt. On December 10th 2013 they rattled the walls of the legendary 100 Club, thus aligning themselves with the numerous legends who have trod the very same stage. The band summoned up the feral electric skronk blues of The Magic Band and The Birthday Party, the proto-punk pummelling of The Monks and The Modern Lovers and the twisted folk of Charles Manson and The Country Teasers. And as singer Lias Saoudi, clad in nothing but a pair of back to front, skin tight rubber trousers, was carried at head height off stage by a crowd of howling devotees, it was clear that something special had just happened.
Saul explains: “Yeah, the first time I met Lias was at a Metros gig. He was wearing a gold sequinned vest and ended up getting off with this girl that I came with and really fancied. I remember saying to her afterwards: ‘I can’t believe you got off with that guy… did you not see he had a massive nose! He looked like a prick!’”
But despite this setback the trio moved into a house together with drummer Dan Lyons. (Dan describes the song-writing partnership of Lias and Saul as being like that of a blackbird and a boa constrictor, however he’d like to leave it to your imagination to work out which one is which.) The line-up has since been augmented by the mysterious guitarist Adam J Harmer who looks like a hungover hit man and the bassist Joe Pancucci who is so insouciant that he actually fell asleep on stage during his first ever gig with the Fat Whites.
The group played their first open mic night in 2009 and honed their sound at Hank Dog’s Easycome, a regular South London folk event but by the time of their first headline gig under their current name in 2011, they’d added a heavier, more psychedelic and electric element to the music. An early fan of these shows was Liam from Trashmouth Records who would eventually put out their awesome Champagne Holocaust album in 2013. This LP – a mix of class war, Communist themed surrealism, odes to auto sex and to sex in autos, calls for full scale insurrection, unabashed sleaze and grooves that will just not fucking let up – has become that old fashioned thing: a word of mouth success. Their second release, the Wet Hot Beef EP (a split with Taman Shud) was released on Xmas day and points towards a viciously bright future for the group.
The Fat White Family then: sharp as knives, thick as thieves, completely moral when it counts, completely immoral when it doesn’t. They’re the best young rock band in the world. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Written by John Doran, London, January 2014