Language is fascinating. Two people can speak the exact same language and use the exact same words, yet the subtlest variations betray our international differences.
This, bizarrely, is what I found myself thinking midway through Fun Lovin’ Criminals set at Electric Brixton. They’ve been described as “quintessentially New York”, and somehow their Americanism pervaded even their expletive-laden asides to the audience. Such a band could never have come together in the UK.
As ever, pinning them down to a genre is difficult. Huey Morgan’s laid-back vocals lend the band their hip hop sound; electrifying guitar solos bring a touch of classic American rock’n’roll, while everything is tied together by relaxed funk rhythms.
‘Their Love Unlimited’, preceded by a slightly cryptic introduction that took a true Fun Lovin’ Criminals fan to decode, was the show’s smooth highlight, although a drum solo from Frank Benbini left us reeling with its precision and speed.
Various solos from each band member, and a raucous welcome for their DJ, Matteo, were a welcome part of the show. Huey Morgan, with his radio shows, Somerset country house and infamous mug-smashing TV appearance, is a big personality. But even as frontman, there was never a sense that he was dominating the band or the stage. Fun Lovin’ Criminals are too clever to become a one-man act.
Morgan has said that Fun Lovin’ Criminals have got their performances down to a “perfect science”, giving up the partying to focus on the music and the art. But if they really have dialled back their rock’n’roll lifestyle, 21 years after their first album Come Find Yourself they still bring the energy to start a bloody good party.
23 years together has certainly had an effect on the band. From the way they introduce one another, the little glances and smiles on stage, it feels like they’re a group of people who genuinely love playing together. And when the band are havin’ fun, the audience will too.
Featured image: Lancashire Telegraph.