- 09 May 19
Fat White Family don’t make it easy – for themselves or for us. They’ve sung playfully about Hitler and Harold Shipman and went through a period of performing with all their clothes off. And then there was that flirtation with heroin, from which they barely recovered. Right now they are busy feuding with punk-pop nice boys Idles.
But there is more to this psychedelic rag-tag than shock and vitriol, as confirmed by their fantastic third album Serfs Up! Taking the enormously novel approach of augmenting their avant-garde post-pop with actual tunes the record is the biggest hit of their career – and brought a sell-out crowd to see them in Dublin.
Led by the shirtless – though otherwise respectably attired – Lias Saudi, the six-piece were a force at nature at a churning Button Factory. With Saudi shaking his shaved head and man-bun – it’s really quite the look – and guitarist Saul Adamczewski looming just over his shoulder they plunged into eyes-on-stalks opener ‘When I Leave’.
The abyss of drug use was confronted on the rattling ‘Tinfoil Deathstar’ while the group acknowledged their debt to Fall conjurer Mark E Smith on (the rather obviously titled), ‘I Am Mark E Smith’.
It was dissonant yet breathtaking and that before they even reached for their Throbbing Gristle-esque “hit” ‘Touch the Leather’. They of course declined to encore: the last thing Saoudi and company would want to be accused of was stooping to cliche. It’s Fat White Family in a nutshell – thrilling but never, ever ones to pander.