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Monday, 6 March 2017

#ForTheRecord FUN LOVIN' CRIMINALS Live & The Albert Hall, Manchester (4/3/17)


Criminal Minded.

New York's finest were in the Manchester city of Northern Soul this weekend as Huey and the boys gave the town of an Oasis of Brit-Pop a study of criminology like Raekwon the Chef of the Wu-Tang Clan, Shaolin NYC. Blending real raps and rocking blues of a hip-hop edge, these smooth criminals kept it exactly like that, leaning as far back as Michael Jackson did forward in said songs video. As these dapper dons draped in the frank pinstripes of Sinatra suit stylings, Clyde fedoras and sneakers the Knickerbockers would be proud of brought all the apples from Manhattan to the United Kingdom across the pond they now call home. Kicking off the set strong like they always do with their signature, self-titled breakthrough smash, the Fun Lovin' Criminals rolled through all their rocking hits as Huey Morgan, Fast and Frank on drums redefined cool on a Saturday night in the city where everyone is trying to be exactly that but failing...don't they know it's effortless?

The Crims brought out the big guns like Tommy. 'The Grave and The Constant' and the king of the four page sentences. 'The King Of New York' tribute to John Gotti. The 'Love Unlimited' ode to Barry White and the Louis Armstrong classic cover 'We Have All The Time In The World'. Not to mention, or forget all the timeless classics that sent the crowd 'Loco" like the 'Scooby Snacks', 'Pulp Fiction' referencing fix. These guys "running round, robbin' banks all wacked" bombed the L and almost brought the Albert Hall down. No not the royal one, but Manchesters own mesmerizing converted church, which the Criminals almost crumbled. All the way from the beautiful landmarks circling pews to the stirring stained glass on evening reflection. Save something for the pulpit though as the band started tossing out "Gym Hats" to the Fun Lovin' faithful before their "supermodel on my D" 'Big Night Out' finale that made way for their D.J. after party. If you don't see the irony at least see the gesture. As the maverick Morgan with his unmistakable Brooklyn drawl could be responsible for a few babies when he slows it down with his smooth as scotch, bruised beautiful ballads over the rocks.

The same cadence that provided compelling backstory introductions to all his numbers like 'Smoke 'Em' (if you got 'em). The same vocals that has introduced all the classic songs that the youth had never previously heard of or added to their playlists on his BBC radio show that's as sought after for it's soundbites as its songs. The same D.J. that eloquently wrote about all the artists you should have grown up with in his 'Rebel Hearts' bible testament of a good book for music. The same singer that lets the future of what you should be listening to play too like the band Milk, who in support didn't let the mood spoil with their fresh sound and style. A band who Huey's 6 Music show gave 'Record Of The Year' too. But two decades and a year since their anniversary tour of their classic debut album 'Come Find Yourself', the Fun Lovin' Criminals sound just as original and innovative as they did 21 years ago as they played the title track with true love and legacy making legend. The message still ringing true in a time where being 'Passive/Aggressive' is more the societal norm. And you best believe Huey knew this as he opened one of F.L.C.'s 'C.F.Y.'s classic cuts with his own raw and real remarks. And at the risk of sounding aggressive here-but never passive-after this saturday night that was anything but just another one, how can the U.S. and the city of New York doze on a fun band that's as synomonous with the five bouroughs as the Brooklyn Bridge, Staten Island Ferry or the Queens Expressway combined? This is supposed to be the city that never sleeps. And these are the the realest New Yorkers. How you can't love this? Criminal! TIM DAVID HARVEY.