Gig review: Fat White Family at Stylus, Leeds

Back in 2015, Fat White Family were on stage for a mere 20 minutes before making way for the headline act on the NME Awards Tour at the O2 Academy in Leeds.

By Lorraine Behrens
Tuesday, 26th November 2019, 8:24 pm
Fat White Family
Fat White Family

This time, their intensely tight set at the Leeds University Union venue barely scratched five minutes over a sweaty hour on stage, yet it was a pure hour of quality reigning over quantity. Plunging straight in with Tinfoil Deathstar, Lias, Saul and co scoured their way through a selection of tracks from their three albums, including Serfs Up, their latest – and highly-acclaimed – release.

FWF have given new meaning to sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll with earlier reports of infighting, heroin, homelessness, and other extremeties now toned down with a cleaned-up and note-perfect performance. Lias even kept his shirt on for the whole gig, despite undoing all the buttons, and also stayed safely on stage, presumably not in the mood for the crowd-surfing antics of last June’s Hebden Bridge appearance. Indeed, he even appeared to be swigging water (yes, water!) instead of wine, but irregardless of his tipple gave his all with his howling and screaming.

The rendition of Goodbye Goebbels was an understated glory, Lias and Saul together in a ballad about Hitler reminiscing with his minister of propaganda shortly before their suicides. Alex White added to sleazy rock tracks with saxophone and flute while keyboard player Nathan Saoudi dabbled with a penny whistle and Lias got his gong out for Bobby’s Boyfriend.

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Is it Raining in Your Mouth makes you proud to be a Fat White Family fan – it’s the song for anyone who has stayed with them through thick and thin; then with Bomb Disneyland as the final offering it was over and out and ‘poof’ they were gone and the lights came on. There was to be no encore but even though it had been a filling meal, fans could have managed a small desert.

Maybe with all this apparent clean living, it was now past their bedtime.