Live Report: Fat White Family – The Garage, Glasgow

A walk on the wild side...

Fat White Family are like nothing else, their individuality and addictive tunes sway, betray and memorize each time they show up for a live show. This band delivers like no other. 

A looping intro of John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ greeted (or tortured) onlookers prior to Fat White Family’s long-awaited return to Glasgow, to the extent that it was soon apparent that the piss was being taken. Thankfully, before the band would greet us all, we were prepped with a fitting ode to Dale Barclay (RIP), the late Amazing Snakeheads frontman, with the wonderfully vicious ballad, ‘Where is My Knife’. A Glasgow audience responded with rapturous applause as was to be expected. 

Few bands bring such comedy to a live scene as Fat White Family. Their provocative nature shines through in everything they do, even with many line-up changes over the years. Frontman Lias Saoudi exemplifies what they’re all about. I once wrote that the Fat White Family were the greatest band on the planet, years ago. Now, in 2024, all of us older, a bit more drenched (?) from life, slightly fatter around the hips, deranged, can the same be said? 

Well, Fat White Family remain like no other band you’ll see or hear on this wretched planet. And thank fuck. Some of their output in tonight’s gig meanders, at times obscure to their past, but when they hit the money, they sound as unique as they’re always done. There’s an energy in this group that lives on, an instinct to their core, and brilliance for delivering as if their lives depended on it. 

The downtime moments came. ‘Today You Become a Man’, a poetry lament something between Baxter Dury, Sleaford Mods and John Cooper Clarke, didn’t really take hold in a live setting, and for obvious reasons. We’d have been better off with a shite version of ‘Is It Raining In Your Mouth?’. Older classics like ‘Touch The Leather’, ‘Satisfied’ and ‘I Am Mark E Smith’ did have the crowd and I going bonkers, adding to the strangeness (brilliance?) of this group, and continued live performances. 

The wonderfully melodic, and tasteless ‘Hits, Hits, Hits’ (about Ike and Tina Turner, FFS) was greeted with the usual nervous applause any tune about physical abuse brings. Tracks from the latest brilliant record, ‘Forgiveness Is Yours’, were magical as live as they are on the record. ‘What’s That You Say’ and ‘Religion For One’ are as wonderful songs as this group has ever created. It’s abundantly clear they still have ‘it’. Years ago, I saw Fat White Family at Glasgow’s Garage, Lias getting naked barely two songs in. These days, he appears on stage in similar form, but wearing a see-through bottom-lycra pant effort. I guess time’s horror makes us all a little bit more reserved. Or maybe Lias has been told off for getting his cock out on stage. I never complained.  

I must admit, I don’t really have anything interesting or new to say about the Fat White Family (as you’ve probably gathered from this review, dear reader), just because I love their ethos and their insanity. Just go see them before things implode.  

‘Bomb Disneyland’ appears to be their signature tune. Fat Whites closed tonight’s show with it and, as is their nature, brought the house down, because on their game they’re stellar. A remarkable bunch of loveable and at the same time, hateful bastards. Please don’t leave us anytime soon, guys. 

Words: Ray Jackson

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