Fat White Family is criminally obscure band, yet one that critics tend to swoon over – and by the end of the evening it is clear why, as they are absolutely thrilling to see live. Following the drunken fury of London punks Claw Marks and local psychedelics Cult of Dom Keller, Fat Whites get to making the tiny sweat-walled room of The Bodega vibrate with their savage, yet surprisingly melodic, nightmarish tunes.
Fat Whites are thoroughly, confrontationally punk; they are known for spending the occasional homeless night at their Brixton pub, which also doubles as their headquarters, and made the news last summer for a grotesque banner celebrating Maggie Thatcher’s death. The anarchistic six-piece is self-aware of their feral air, but they don’t actively stylize themselves as such – they just simply are, which translates into their music – and they know how to play it up in a live show without sacrificing a fuzzily hallucinatory, almost dreamy quality to their songs, most evident in the eerie Cream of The Young and Auto Neutron.
It’s the sort of gig where someone gets thrown out for slinging beer and starting an inebriated brawl before the second song of the set is over. As the night progresses, frontman Lias Saudi takes on the role of a crazed preacher, complete with climbing atop one of the speakers and singing from up there for a while, then attempting a striptease; thankfully stopping before the trousers come off, but not before he pokes about in the crotch area (but then what else would you expect when one of their first songs, Is It Raining In Your Mouth, details fellatio). Fat Whites are unsettling, occasionally bordering on disgusting and above all – morbidly gleeful. I’m incredibly excited for a chance to see them again.