First Night: Fun and lovin' from the wise guys of rock

Fun Lovin' Criminals Brixton Academy London
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The Independent Online
A BAND which have the words "fun lovin'" in their name are on seriously dangerous ground. Not only will they have to live up to it for the duration of their career but they also arouse a certain amount of suspicion. Afterall, the people who proclaim themselves "a bit bonkers", are usually the most boring people on Earth. And let's face it, fun lovingness aside, this band are not even criminals.

After three years in the business, Fun Lovin' Criminals are, however, still living up to their self-imposed standards. Not only have they achieved mainstream success, but they provide top-class fodder for the tabloid newspapers. Huey and Fast's love lives are second only to Robbie Williams' in turnover and dedicated column inches.

Live, too, the band are effortlessly entertaining - and not just musically. Having opened with their rabble-rousing signature tune "The Fun Lovin' Criminal" and followed it with the equally rumbustious "Korean Bodega", Huey, the vocalist , paused to tell a joke. It's too filthy to print, but suffice to say the crowd was hysterical.

Their music can sometimes seem incidental next to their effusive cabaret act.

But from the sniggering wise guys of their early songs, Huey and Fast transformed into out-and-out lounge lizards, as they played songs from their second album 100%Colombian. "Love Unlimited" is a snesual ode to Barry White's remedial qualities while "Up On The Hill" gives breathing space to Huey's unique vocal style.

It is to their credit that the band do not descend too far into parody. Rather, FLC seem to live out their fantasies on stage. Their suits are crisp, their hair is greased to perfection and their swaggering blend of rock, hip-hop and blues is as polished as a newly sprayed car.

The pictures they paint - street scenes of police chases and sex - are often too cliched for comfort, but they are at least under-pinned by genuine enthusiasm.

Fiona Sturges