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14 September 2005: Fun Lovin' Criminals - Rock City, Nottingham, England, UK

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Before this gig I wouldn’t have said that The FLC were right at the top of my list of bands that I wanted to see live. Nevertheless, variety is the spice of life so off I went.

First up was the support band, Cantaloop (not Antelope as I first thought they’d said). They sounded like an English mob and were probably a suitable warm-up for The FLC. They had a very similar sound, although not as edgy and playing more towards the rap/funk side of the spectrum. All well and good but a bit too ‘urban’ and too much talk of “the vibe” for my taste.

The FLC sauntered on stage to begin with ‘I Love Living in the City’, the title track from their new album which I’ve not heard yet. To my surprise virtually the whole crowd simply stood still and watched as the band played. I hadn’t been expecting a mosh-pit exactly but I had thought there would be a bunch of kids leaping up and down somewhere. An obvious factor in this could have been the average age of the crowd which must have been knocking on towards 30 at least. Next up was my favourite, ‘Korean Bodega’, which is a simple rock tune but sounds great all the same.

From here on in it was a bizarre mix of chilled, laid-back, lounge-style songs interwoven with the more ballsy rock numbers. A strange combination, no doubt, and unfortunately it had the effect of getting you dancing only to have to stop when the next slow schmoozey number came on.

Not being completely au-fait with their repertoire I can only list some of the songs played as possibly being; Up on the Hill, Big Night Out, Love Unlimited, 10th Street, Loco, City Boy, Mi Corazon, Southside, Girl with the Scar, King of New York, Scooby Snacks, thingyholder, Where the Bums Go, and a very well done Hendrix-cover, Foxy Lady. There were definitely a lot of songs played and played superbly too....

....however, I must mention my dislike of bands who play with an occasional backing track. It’s a bit too much like seeing Britney Spears miming on stage, in my opinion. Yes, The FLC are only a 3-piece so it’s hard to play stuff live but couldn’t they get a guest guitarist in? After all, they had someone in to play saxophone on a few songs. To me this was summed up during Scooby Snacks, I think, when Huey was singing – but not playing his guitar – while the main riff was coming from the backing track.

On the plus side I must say that I was very impressed with Frankie on drums. For a big lad he gave it everything and was absolutely superb, hammering out machine gun beats quickly followed by delicately soft rhythms. ‘Fast’ on bass / keyboards / trumpet / computer / everything else was always busy and didn’t seem to do anything wrong. And Huey on guitar was a pleasure to watch too. I’ve always thought he was under-rated as a guitarist and he does what he does very well, perfect for their style of music and a treat for anyone who likes wah-wah.

The banter with the crowd was there too, as were lots of mentions of being from NY and also some political posturing which was maybe a little out of place at this sort of show.

To end with they played ‘The Fun Lovin Criminal’ which was as close as they came to bringing the house down. It was a very good show and great value for money, certainly a band I would recommend catching live even if you’re not a huge fan.

© JimBob,

The views expressed in these reviews do not necessarily reflect those of the team.

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