Multi-Platinum artists the Fun Lovin’ Criminals made sure they were ‘back on the block’ this weekend following a sold-out show in Aberdeen.
The New Yorkers took to the stage at the Garage Nightclub on Friday to perform the second of twelve headline shows from their highly-anticipated twenty-first anniversary UK tour.
Continuing to perform sold-out shows after two decades in the industry is an incredible achievement; something that none of the band take for granted.
Drummer Frank Benbini said the Crims were delighted to be back on the road, in spite of the inevitable ups and downs that come with being a part of the music industry:
“Sometimes making music is like being hung from a tree and having chunks taken out of you,” he said. “There’ve been lots of ups and downs. But to play sold-out shows after all this time...twenty years later... only so many bands can do that. So it’s amazing, and very humbling.”
From the moment the Crims take the stage; it becomes glaringly apparent that they are doing this for the love. Front man Huey has an effortless precision when it comes to interacting with the crowd, and his infectious smile and cocky attitude keep the audience’s eyes fixed firmly on him.
Playing all the classics like ‘Loco’, ‘Love Unlimited’ and of course the famous ‘Scooby Snacks’; the band showcased their incredible ability to slot into just about any genre – part of the reason why they have such a varied fan and far-stretching fan base. The band themselves admit their music is a “jumbled-up” mix of genres – and fans understand that.
The Fun Lovin’ Criminals stormed the Brit-Pop scene in the mid nineties with their mishmash of musical genres. Flirting between Rock & Roll, Funk, Blues, Soul, Hip Hop, Jazz and Latin; the Crims stood apart for creating a “timeless” blend of music that has lasted for decades.
Every song on the night was delivered with note-perfect finesse and passion, and even the most complicated of guitar solos (orchestrated by front man Huey) was played with tremendous ease. Of particular mention was Brian ‘Fast’ Leiser on samples and trumpet, expertly playing both at the same time without even breaking a sweat. Frank Benbini nailed every beat on drums; clearly putting every ounce of his energy into the performance.
And despite some concern that the gig would be a nostalgia tour of sorts, in traditional FLC style the boys managed to prove any doubters wrong.
Dressed in a suits and sneakers aesthetic, and their no apologies attitude and refusal to conform make them an irresistible magnet for new, younger listeners; and remind loyal fans of why they love the Crims so much.
“We’re not an X Factor voice contrived and put together by a big marketing campaign. We’re rock and roll.” Says Benbini. “We say what we want on stage and we generally are three badass people who break the rules. We pride ourselves on playing every show the best we can.”
Keeping in line with Benbini’s comments, front man Huey Morgan certainly played up to this rock and roll persona during the gig. “Oh, am I being crass?” was one of the most-used phrases of the night, but no apologies were made for causing offence; even when he quoted that famous Trump comment.
Safe to say, if you’re gonna go see the Crims, you need to have a thick skin.
Not so rock and roll, however, was sending a gaffer out before the show to light a stick of incense; much to the amusement of the audience.
But all these quirks and the brutal honesty of the band only add to their allure. And the fans just love them for it.
“Fun Lovin’ Criminal fans are the main reason we do this. They’re loyal, educated; they understand what we’re about. They’re obviously rounded music lovers. We play really good and we don’t give a s*** and I think people love that.”
Some concern was expressed by the audience that this would be a ‘goodbye’ tour of sorts for the Fun Lovin’ Criminals, but fans needn’t worry about the Crims disappearing after this set of shows.
“We’ve started kicking around some of our favourite songs in the studio – reworkings of old songs and covers, and some brand new songs too.” Says Benbini. “After the tour finishes off, it’d be nice to give fans something new and different from us. Because at the end of the day, it’s all for them.”