The Fun Lovin Criminals burst onto the scene 20 years ago. A cock sure, smooth talking, trio that liked a toot and more than a few shots of tequila. With no regard for genres or boundaries,the self-professed Kings of New York took us a little bit by surprise, providing a welcome alternative to the over saturated Brit-Pop era. Having caught them live more than a few times back in the day, we were looking forward to an evening of looking back.

The grins are a dead give away. Huey and co are on stage, and look, lets just say, pleased about it. It was time to ‘stick ’em up punk’.

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It’s been a while since we’ve had the pleasure of the FLC live, and with all the radio and TV appearances it’s easy to forget that along with the coolness and the humour, Huey is actually a shit hot guitar player. His guitar solo in ‘Can’t Get With That’ is as slick as anything out there, and if you were in any doubt, the wa wa intro to The King Of New York soon set the record straight. Big Frank on drums might not have been there 20 years ago but he certainly fits with the mucho grande style too.

 

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The multi-instrumental, multi-talented Fast is just as you recall him though. Always impressed to see him play the trumpet and keys at the same time and that Bear Hug bassline. Gets me everytime.

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As its an anniversary show, it’s only right to hear some tales from way back. Never short on words, Huey fills in between tracks with a few background stories around the songs, Like how he achieved the deep graveltone voice for ‘Bear Hug’ .”I turned up at the studio so fucked up from the night before. I sounded like Popeye” And then of course there’s the banter. Fast -” Look at you, wearing glasses!” Huey – ” I know. I can’t fuckin’ see!” – “You should be in Devo.” All of which adds to the music and makes it a personal affair to which we’re all invited.

As Flash’s lamenting trumpet soars over the auditorium ‘Come Find Yourself’ is quite beautiful in its delivery. It’s a moment not unnoticed and Huey applauds the crowd “Thanks for feelin’ the love. Upbeat your sensitive side Leeds!”

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The first set closes with Methadonia and again Huey gives us the back ground to the songs inspiration. “Wasn’t long after I’d left the marines. We’d been to see George Clinton, and the day after I was sat watching these all these crazy people just wandering around. I just had to write about it.”

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A short set break see’s the goodfella’s return to the stage to the theme to the A-Team, refreshed and bubbling with glasses of champagne. It’s an anniversary  do so why not? Not wanting the crowd to feel left out Frank generously shares out the Moet, race winner style. The close of the evening features a bunch of FLC favourites and of Huey’s all too happy to continue to wax lyrical about the inspiration behind the songs. “Wrote this for a guy who let me off a dollar fifty. I was like,’Hey I’ll write a song for you’. He just kept saying I owe him a dollar fifty…Returned a few years later and gave him the gold disc. He was still like ‘You owe me a dollar fifty.” Leads us nicely into Korean Bodega. Then again we get another short tale about cutting school and seeing Dr. Love himself walking down the street as an intro to ‘Love Unlimited’.

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“Twenty years! And look at us. Just a bunch of fat fucks.” says Fast as he looks over at Huey. Mr Morgan checks himself ” Great tailors though.” Yep. It might be twenty years on, but when the FLC rock up in town everythings still cool and everything still smooth.

GALLERY: just click on any pic to see full size.

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SETLIST:-

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The 20th anniversary collectors’ edition of c ‘Come Find Yourself’ will be released on the Edsel label through Demon Music Group on the 19th of February.

Remaining TOUR DATES:

Thursday             11            LIVE: Oxford O2 Academy
Friday                     12          LIVE: Worthing Pavilion Theatre             
Saturday               13            LIVE: Norwich UEA LCR Norwich            
Thursday             18            LIVE: Cardiff  Y Plas (formally Solus)
Friday                     19          LIVE: Exeter Great Hall                  
Saturday               20           LIVE: London Kentish Town Forum
Thursday             25            LIVE: Birmingham The Institute
Friday                     26         LIVE: Manchester  Cathedral     
Saturday               27           LIVE: Glasgow Barrowland Ballroom

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