“We got the Funk” said the glow in the dark wrist bands.
The Royal British Legion Lerwick was the venue for a fantastic funkadelic Friday fever as nine members of the Glasgow instrumental music collective that is Fat-Suit headed north to headline a memorable gig organised by local DJ Lyall Halcrow.
There was plenty of buzz from the local support acts too, who held their own, many of them Mareel music students.
After DJ Brendon Hall softened up the audience as they drifted in with an eclectic mix incorporating African Funk, “Thai inspired stuff” and “classic breakbeat” it was time for the highly original Big Beat Quell – a word play on cool! They played five memorable tunes from their forthcoming EP about, according to guitarist/singer Thomas Jones “life changing events”, they’re quite edgy songs.
Along with Jamie Hatch’s guitar and gruffer vocals the two front men play well off each other delivering bouncy catchy tunes with strong choruses. Their sound is ably lifted by Chris Cope on bass and Murray Smith on drums. There was no getting away from the footie with a song, Back of the Net dedicated to Harry Kane.
Funk Band, a simple but straight forward name, was up next. Appearing as a trio on this occasion, three groove busters, they provided some chunky dancing riffs, Joanne Tait’s sold bass perfectly complementing Hungarian hauncho drummer David Vargar’s snappy and inventive sticks which carried off a smart solo.
All this was superbly augmented by Lewis Hall’s keyboard wizardry, the icing on the cake. He popped up again in the next act Funkcity with steady beat Murray Smith on drums and Shaun Strachan’s humongous bass which as well as being heard could be felt through the floor, chair and table.
The audience were shaking their booties now. These three did a few numbers first before being joined by Peter Kay’s liquid jerky axe playing which gave real impact to the sound, he was one of the stand-out musicians of the evening.
Eventually the stage was packed with Fat Suit who take the funky experience to new places with nine musicians there’s a lot going on in a truly “musical stew” which can be bewildering and a bit jumpy for dancing, though many tried at this stage of the evening.
One punter was heard to say “a bit too alternative I’m awa tae da Marlex!” while another, a soul axeman himself wondered about the music: “Is it trying to be too clever for its self?”
Whatever your thinking there was no denying the imagination and musicianship of their performance they are rightly being described as “one of the best bands in British music full stop”.