The British press has itself all in a tizzy over the new band Fat White Family
. They've been compared to The Rolling Stones and the Sex Pistols for their ability to capture what it means to be a young in Britain, and bench marked next to Johnny Cash and Lou Reed thanks to lead singer Lias Saoudi's deep vocals. Q Magazine even went as far as calling the band, "The most important band in Britain." With such lofty comparisons and adulations, we thought we'd dive a little deeper into the six-piece's story to see what all the fuss is about.
Fat White Family formed in the back of a pub...a Brixton pub they have apparently never left, as it still serves as home base for their operations. They drink, rehearse and even sleep there. This is where the band first made waves, but not for their music. Posting a banner reading "The Bitch is Dead" outside the pub following the death of Margaret Tatcher apparently gets a lot of attention.
Since that time they haven't stopped being transgressive, battling the political and societal center from the fringes with their image. Despite denoting themselves as "fat," the musicians look nearly malnourished (they once sent out an SOS on their Facebook Page
saying they were starving and asking for Chinese food), making their band name seem like more of a statement on not fitting in with conventions of aesthetics and music than a description of their looks.
And this self-identification with the marginalized is all the more evident when you listen to their music, that is, if you can make out Saoudi's nearly unintelligible words. The lo-fi, insidious songs off their debut album Champaign Holocaust
cross over the propriety line, like in "Cream of the Young," in which Saoudi is yearning for a girl and her "fifteen year old tongue." But even though their lyrics can be controversial, the band insists that a lot of the time they are not being serious. The band can even be funny, like in "Who Shot Lee Oswald?", which asks "was it the FBI, was it the BBC?" or "was it The Velvet Underground?".
Though Fat White Family is probably causing a minor media frenzy because of their controversial nature, the band definitely has something to say that is worthy of being heard, and these statements are delivered with a talent that is worthy of attention. The dark, abrasive songs are tight and steady without being droning, and are livened up by gut-wrenching screams, an occasional upbeat tambourine, and even something that sounds like a banjo.
But the band's alluring tightness begins to deteriorate when it comes to their live shows. Saoudi has been known to attack bands for their seeming disdain for their audiences, and most recently called out Alex Turner for being a "moron". But when Fat White Family breaks down and starts smashing their instruments, it seems like the band's stage antics embody the cliches that they are trying to fight against. You can watch live performances of "Bomb Disneyland," and "Autoneutron" below, which are certainly entertaining despite their rawness. And considering that there are reports of the band getting totally naked onstage and "accidentally" hitting a vegan in their audience with a pig head, I would say that these are tame versions of Fat White Family.
Fat Possum Records will release Champagne Holocaust
on August 19, and you can catch Fat White Family live when they tour in America this fall.
10/15 - Washington, D.C. @ Black Cat Backstage
10/16 - Philadelphia, PA @ Boot & Saddle
10/18 - New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom
10/19 - Boston, MA @ Great Scott
10/21 - Montreal, QC @ Le Divan Orange
10/22 - Toronto, ON @ The Hard Luck
10/23 - Lakewood, OH @ Mahall's
10/24 - Chicago, IL @ Schubas
10/25 - Minneapolis, MN @ 7th Street Entry
10/28 - Denver, CO @ Lost Lake Lounge
10/29 - Salt Lake City. UT @ Kilby Court
10/31 - Portland, OR @ Bunk Bar
11/1 - Seattle, WA @ Chop Suey
11/3 - San Francisco, CA @ Rickshaw Stop
11/4 - Los Angeles, LA @ The Echo
11/7 - Austin. TX @ Fun Fun Fun Festival