Fun Lovin’ Criminals At Vicar Street – Review
The audience of a live show is always a massive testament to the legacy and impact of a band – in fact, it can be a massive indication of relevance for a band. This is certainly the case for Fun Lovin’ Criminals, whose ground-breaking album Come Find Yourself was released over twenty years ago, their style emerged during a time of Britpop and catapulted them to significant fame with their distinctive combination of hip-hop, metal, blues and soul. And yet, the audience at their Dublin performance in Vicar Street was speckled with people only entering their twenties, born well after the album’s release. The reality is that while FLC may not be as revolutionary as they were once seen, their style and casually cool still resonates, to some degree, with music lovers today. Moreover, their use of iconic cultural references and Tarantino dialogue manages to help separate them from modern musical samplings, and at times, under all the nostalgia, there’s still an alluring hint of rebellion to their sound. Their fans are a combination of die-hard, long-term fans and newcomers who have an equal love of their idiosyncratic fusion of genres.
Naturally, their performances starts with ‘The Fun Lovin’ Criminal’, and immediately the crowd come alive – the band seem to feed off their energy appearing ecstatic, almost overwhelmed by the reception. The set progresses with ‘Passive/Aggressive’ and ‘Bombin’ the L’, unfortunately, there are times when they look to the crowd to chant along and are met with lacklustre, half-hearted responses. Perhaps it’s because it’s a Wednesday night, perhaps because it’s miserable outside and people are tired, or perhaps it’s down to FLC’s diminishing position within people’s record collections. Regardless of the answer, the lull only happens on two or three songs, and it never seems to deter the band who play an impeccable performance otherwise.
To the credit of the FLC they have never lost their swagger, doing shots of tequila and glasses of wine – they remain hilariously rebellious in their own ways. One adamant fan repeatedly screams Huey’s name whenever there’s a moments peace. In between ‘Bombin’ The L’ and ‘I Can’t Get With That’, after one particularly ear-piercing scream of his name, he coyly admits that he ‘doesn’t handle female attention so well anymore’. There’s something admirable about the band because, although they’re nowhere near their glory days in terms of fan, they seem to really appreciate the die-hard who remain. This is particularly true when they play their most notable track, ‘Scooby Snacks’, it’s the track where they really come alive as a band and the audience respond in kind. It’s no doubt that it’s the track many came for and FLC do it perfect justice, giving it every ounce of gusto possible – the energy is tangible.
So what can one say about their show? It’s a hearty performance by FLC, no doubt, but there are most definitely moments where you sit in silence waiting for the energy to pick back up, for the band to revert back to what you know, the bones of their set list, Come Find Yourself. The show is a wonderful way to bask in the past brilliance and, occasionally, edgy sound. However, it’s not as revolutionary anymore but it certainly is a most memorable walk down with memory lanes and many of their tracks, which formed the basis to many a music lover’s record collection, still have that gritty brilliance.
Photo: Fun Lovin’ Criminals at Vicar Street January 2016 by David Doyle