Fun Lovin' Criminals The Event, Brighton
Friday 11 April 1997
They should be great. They have a top name (the only other decent names in pop are Kenickie, Daft Punk and Luscious Jackson). They look fantastic - there's drummer Steven Borovini in a hot pink shirt, besuited bassist, keyboardist and trumpeter Fast, and guitarist and stocky little singer Huey X in his low-slung pants with his head shaved to better show off his Italian-stallion beauty. Every single from the album has been excellent. "The Fun Lovin' Criminal" with its comedy trumpet and "Stick 'em up, punk, it's the fun lovin' criminal" hook. The current hit "King of New York", with its ridiculous refrain "La di da da/ Free John Gotti". Their breakthrough, "Scooby Snacks" was such silly, unadulterated genius that it was practically a novelty record.
The first problem for them live is that they have to follow Republica, specifically lead singer Saffron, who stays on key through a hoopla of high kicks, back-arching leaps and frenetic headshakes. She is riveting to watch, no matter how dodgy the music is. FLC slope on stage to the music from The Godfather. They like their films - "Scooby Snacks" samples from Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction. "King of New York" gets its title from the Christopher Walken film. A few numbers in, Huey namechecks Harvey Keitel. But that's all it is - namechecking. There is nothing dark, thought- provoking or even remotely filmic about their live sound.
No matter - the crowd adore them. The boys in the audience are so into the New York gangster schtick that they keep shouting at the band "fuck off" as a mark of respect. The girls are here because Huey is something of a sex symbol. The truth is that you could find his goofy Tony Danza good looks on any street in Brooklyn and you could probably find a better pop star.
Introducing their cover of "We Have All the Time in the World" he says: "My girlfriend is back in New York so I'll dedicate this to Saffron's mum because I met her before the show and she seemed nice." The cover is unspectacular - not different enough from the original to be exciting, not similar enough to be a tribute. It's odd: Republica have less to work with but they play with such gusto that you could nearly mistake it for great pop. Fun Lovin' Criminals have the goods but it all falls apart on stage.
Look beyond the usual shows for the best festive telly
Geoffrey Macnab does not like the comedian's big screen debut
The battle for control of Stieg Larsson's £30m legacy
Arts & Ents blogs
Heavy rain and years of 'benign neglect' may have caused Apollo Theatre roof collapse
Christmas TV guide 2013: Look beyond the usual shows for the best festive telly
Christmas comes early: Justin Bieber is 'retiring from music'
Justin Bieber isn't retiring from music after all
The Harry Hill Movie, film review: Screenplay isn't so much offbeat as utterly feeble
Exclusive: Young people ‘want UK to stay in Europe’: Four in 10 adults aged 18 to 24 are ‘firmly in favour’ of membership, poll shows
Tom Daley ‘is gay because his father died’ says UK evangelist
Iain Duncan Smith leaves Commons food banks debate early
Kiss and yell: Italian protester charged with sexual assault after kissing riot police officer
David Cameron takes his biggest gamble yet as he gets tough on Europe over immigration
PM denies two child limit for benefits is part of Tory welfare policy
- 1 Tim Sherwood challenges Daniel Levy to set out vision for Tottenham Hotspur’s future
- 2 French pub fined €9,000 after customers returned empties to bar - because it's 'undeclared labour'
- 3 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 4 #Teamnigella: It’s the only side to be on
- 5 Christmas comes early: Justin Bieber is 'retiring from music'
- < Previous
- Next >