Some shows you go to, you just expect to see at least one person’s penis. At a Fat White Family show, that penis is frontman Lias, who, if you search for photos of the band you’ll most likely see nude and strutting around posing for cameras.
On Friday’s Fat White Family show at Baby’s All Right, to the disappointment of a particular person in the audience (who practically laid on me in order to get a better picture of the penis), Lias only stripped down to his pants and teased the full monty for most of the show. I suppose he’s at this point realized that his penis is an expected addition to his performance, and that it’s more effective to keep the audience waiting for it.
Fat White Family is a six piece from London that has its roots in post-punk, 60s garage rock, and some smatterings of country rock a la The Rolling Stones. Lias commanded the stage with moves straight out of the Iggy Pop and Mick Jagger playbook, stripping, jumping into the audience, crowd surfing, and then laying on the stage in between songs.
The band played a bunch of songs that were barely discernible from one song to the next, but I recognized a couple off their LP Champagne Holocaust like “Is it Raining in Your Mouth?,” “Touch the Leather,” and a spirited version of “Bomb Disneyland” which brought down the house at the end. But even when I could recognize the song, the musical performance took a backseat to the stage performance from Lias.
And while the band definitely fulfilled the punk rock spirit, the show hinged so much on the Lias’ showmanship that it made the music behind him almost inconsequential. This lead to a disconnection between the audience participation and the music itself; for example, during one of the medium tempo songs (which a lot of the songs were) the audience was in a full on mosh mode which was ridiculously out of place to the somewhat tame music.
The disconnect points to two things I learned in my experience at the show. First, that the need for rock music and the punk spirit of going in and bouncing around at other people in a sweaty claustrophobic show is so desperately craved by so many, regardless of the music that’s justifying it. The other is that when there’s the possibility of a man pulling out his dick on stage, people are bound to go apeshit.
Article by: Steven Klett
Photos by: Shayne Hanley