Words by Wes Foster
I was apprehensive about this gig when I learnt it was at Academy 2. It’s been a while since I last saw them and a strong atmosphere seems harder to coax out in larger, very nondescript venues. They feel emptier, as if you could be anywhere in the world.
Fat Whites, in my opinion, are one of the most important bands to come out of the woodwork in the last few years – actually lyrically daring and with music that does what it wants. They, like a few others (probably most prominently Sleaford Mods), are not products of austerity, but do owe a little of their success to the anger boiling deep down in an unfortunately otherwise apathetic England.
A nicely balanced roster of songs filled their set, still heavily based on Champagne Holocaust with highlights like ‘Bomb Disneyland’ and the single ‘I Am Mark E Smith’. Saul comes across as pretty heavily influenced by Smith, judging by his crooning tone as he talks to the crowd and the way he moves across the stage (although it has to be said with more vigour) like he just doesn’t give a shit.
It was always going to be interesting to see how the tracks from Songs For Our Mothers would transfer to a live setting. The album isn’t quite as raucous and feels more settled, but testament to their absolute skill as musicians and strength as a band, they translate smoothly. The slowness of ‘Hits, Hits, Hits’ was a particular highlight, going from a state of slow togetherness to all-out pits within moments.
A second album is always the difficult one, but with the energy they still have live and music that feels ever surer of itself, Fat Whites are here to stay.
The show took place at Academy 2 on Saturday 27th February, 2016.