The Fat White Family (or their team) chose Record Junkee in Sheffield for a tiny string of warm-up shows ahead of their summer festival activity. This was an unusual spot for such an energetic gig: upstairs in an instruments/record hybrid shop, the vinyl records neatly pushed away behind barrier fences on one side of the room, a little tapless bar counter in the corner (definitely ‘tapless’, and not ‘topless’). Makes you wonder what the heat, alcohol and sweat does to all that vinyl.
The Fat White Family are known for the chaos that is created during their gigs, maybe this chaos is created by the music itself. Seven musicians crammed on to the tiny stage, cables and instruments haphazardly lying across the floor. Someone from the crowd littered the bands feet with Sharpie sketches of their faces, these papers were soon to be trod into the carpet without a second glance. This is no boy band after all. “Auto Neutron” riles the crowd into a frenzy. This is one of those bands that people go mad to even the slowest of songs, as something just draws that energy out of anyone who hears them. So while Auto Neutron is pretty ‘anthemic’, it’s still got that sort of 60s love-in lounge feel to it, but here people were creating a pit. Every Fat White Family show I’ve been to, there’s been a mosh pit. But this had to be the sweatiest ever. Five minutes in and sweat was in my eyes, it was everywhere. Most of it wasn’t even my own.
“Tinfoil Deathstar”, “I am Mark E Smith”, “Cream of the Young” – every song had an electric effect on those in attendance. The band were angry, stressed, I don’t know. But they weren’t exactly kind to their instruments or those bottles of wine. Towards the end, one or two band members had had enough (of the heat perhaps), and disappeared from the stage. The remaining people continued their set as best as they could without guitars etc, but I believe the show was soon cut short after the loss of too many musicians to carry on. As a general audience member, who knows what happened, that’s bands for you.
And on to the support bands…First up was Joey Mojito’s Them Sardines. A contender for the best act of the night, Joey Mojito took to the stage with shiny gloves, a sequin shirt, and his trusty iPod (to provide the role of the “band”). His songs were very DIY, with simple looped beats, providing a foundation for his somewhat monotone raps and singing. It was tongue-in-cheek, laid back and funny. Think The Streets meets “Get Schwifty” from Rick and Morty. Listen to Joey Mojito’s Them Sardines on Soundcloud.
Next up we had Mysteron, a band that play around Sheffield often. The singer wore a black velvet cape, elbow length, like some sort of Hallowe’en-inspired comfort blanket. Their music makes me think of a mash-up between Bauhaus and Iggy Pop, but with a bit of Northern English charm to them (assuming they’re from around here, of course). After someone in the audience shouted “This one’s a twat”, it’s clear that Mysteron had won over the audience in no time at all. Listen to Mysteron on Soundcloud.
Last support was a brand new outfit called Pre Goblin. And boy could you tell they were new. Apparently they’d rehearsed twice before playing. That’s twice ever. The keyboardist/vocalist had a very cool and unique voice, hitting high notes that she’s probably personally invented. But there was a lot of gaps between the songs. Did they play 3 or 4 songs? It felt very much like an open rehearsal, like they’d accidentally set up in the wrong room. I imagine they’d be better with time and experience, but overall they were an odd choice for this support slot. But I suppose the Fat White Family like to keep their gigs messy.