FLC: Reviews

Album: Come Find Yourself

Fun Lovin' Criminals: A Tasty Scooby Snack

from www.browndailyherald.com

We're all getting sick of hearing the Pulp Fiction soundtrack. Even songs that sample the movie put me on the defensive. To be honest, when I heard `Honeybunny' and `Pumpkin' screaming about a robbery at the beginning of one of the Fun Lovin' Criminals' songs, I thought I would start crying.
But I didn't. In fact, that track, which also features other Tarantino samples from Reservoir Dogs, is my favorite one on the album. Why? Lyrics like: "Running around robbing banks/all whack on my scooby snacks." You heard `em: Scooby Snacks. We all knew what the Mystery Van was really about... Did anyone besides Shaggy and Scooby ever see the ghosts? No.
Fun Lovin' Criminals' debut album Come Find Yourself isn't a revolution rocking the foundations of rap music, but the rhythmic bass line which pumps all through the album makes me wish I had a CD player wrapped inside a really, really big car.

"La-dee-da-dee/Free John Gotti." Urban poetry. Grab your hanky.
Who are these crazy "gangstas"? They're actually three disgruntled ex-nightclub employees from New York City. Their debut album is a mix of hip-hop, blues, and jazz -- grab a pair of really big pants, turn your hat around, and chill. Or dance. Or roll down the street sippin' on gin and juice -- it's really your call.

Vocalist/lyricist/guitarist Huey explains, "We marry the technology of the 90s with the rudimental inflections found in early blues, jazz, and rock-n-roll." Sounds pretty good, doesn't it? So does Come Find Yourself.

The Fun Lovin' Criminals' first album operates on a few levels. Not only is their music great for dancing or lounging, but the sky high humor factor of lyrics on tracks like "Scooby Snacks" and "The King of New York" (the epic tale of a botched John Gotti jailbreak) makes this CD perfect background music for deep conversations with your homies.
The CD also features a cover of John Barry's (think James Bond composer) love theme "Her Majesty's Secret Service" originally sung by Louis Armstrong. The most sophisticated criminals on the block. I'm not positive, but I don't think they use the word "bee-atch" anywhere on the album either. Good Clean Fun, kiddies. Good Clean Fun.
Come Find Yourself has a real attitude. And after you listen to it long enough, you'll get one too. You'll like it. I promise.
Drummer Steve and bassist/keyboardist/trumpet player/harmonica guru Fast (who gave him that name, dare I ask?) clearly support touring and live shows. "Do it live, do it real," Steve offers. Fast adds, "There are so many people doing studio projects, but few are playing together live as a band."
Enticed by the idea of shaking your moneymaker to the live tunes of these wacky (albeit Fun Lovin') Criminals? Well then hop on down to Club Babyhead on Saturday, February 3. Steve, Huey, and Fast will be playing with the NY Ska Jazz ensemble and the Allstonians.
Whet your appetite tomorrow night, then pick up a copy of Come Find Yourself when it's released by EMI records on February 20. Although I don't advocate running around and robbing any banks afterward, your afternoon will have a great soundtrack. --LL


Live Show

Fun Lovin' Criminals
Bristol University, UK
April 8, 1997

by Roger Holland.

from www.tweekitten.com

A hanger-on tells me that the Fun Lovin' Crims are far from huge in the US. Well, they are huge in my heart, and massive in Bristol tonight. Huey opens the show with a 15 second burst of searing rock guitar heroics... there's a brief, eternal *pause* ... and then Steve hits it. Rat-a-tat-tat on the snare with his gat...

"One Two Three, and I come with the Redneck style, cause I get paid by the mile..." Like Avis, the Fun Lovin Crims try harder. They are focused, fun and several other words that begin with F. They open with their eponymous anthem and young Bristol responds to its urgent up-and-down bluesraprockcrossover appeal with what I can only describe as punk rock hysteria. Brave souls crowd surf. The rest of us pogo and skank.

All flyaway Corleone collars and Gotti goatees, the Fun Lovin Crims are familiar and exotic. Cool and ridiculous. Precise and passionate. Subtle and in your face. They blend more musical styles than Bobby De Niro has goombahs. They rock, they hip, they groove, they hop. And they even throw in a perfect swoon-worthy cover of Louis Armstrong's Bond Theme "We Have All The Time In The World."

Hero for the tour is drummer Stevo who has just been released after being arrested for making obscene phone calls to a gym from his hotel room in Leeds. Allegedly. The precise facts are unclear, the police claim he admitted the offence and was released under a caution. The band claim he was released without a stain. Whatever, he is a slightly embarrassed popular hero tonight.
Fast is the unsung musical genius of the trio. Tripping from keyboards, to bass, to trumpet and back again, he lays a rich blend of tones and colour across the FLC groove.
While Huey uses his guitar to seduce and to bully in roughly equal measures. Cooler than Pacino, meaner than De Niro, and funnier than he has any right to be, his vocals are the perfect topping to this Goodfellas pizza.
Songs such as "Scooby Snacks," "Grave And The Constant," "King Of New York" and "I Can't Get With That" are all acknowledged as classics in the UK. And tonight they are acknowledged in the classic style. The crowd go crazy wild for them.
This mean, moody mobster trio kick Bristol's butt all night long. And Bristol loves them for it. America needs to wise up to the wise guys.


Live Show

Fun Lovin' Criminals
Dublin Olympia, Ireland
March 1st-3rd, 2001

by Peter Crawley.

From www.ireland.com

Stick 'em up punks! It's the return of everyone's favourite rock hoodlums. Hot-wiring any music genre left unattended, FLC joyride through a hybrid sound of hard rock, smooth hip hop, gangsta rap and every brand of metal. Wrapped in lounge-room funk, they fitted snugly into the Olympia's frayed opulence.
Wiseguy frontman Huey Morgan strutted onstage with the widest of lazy grins and the capacity audience pogoed around as multi-instrumentalist Brian "Fast" Leiser slinked from bass to keyboards, harmonica to trumpet. New numbers Swashbucklin' In Brooklyn and The Biz saw Huey wince through obligatory wailing Santana guitar solos while FLC punctuated their trademark smooth groove with sharp doses of heavy metal.
As new single Loco melted effortlessly into King Of New York, even Huey's eyebrows began to settle. The generous encore introduced a welcome shift in tone, as FLC unwound with the gravelly ballad Half A Block and the peculiar canine love song Sugar. With boisterous "Huey" chants eliciting friendly nods of recognition, Huey and company were obviously among friends. Ending with We Have All The Time In The World, these organised fun-lovers showed no signs of going straight.


Live Show

Fun Lovin' Criminals
Glasgow Barrowlands, UK
March 8th 2001

by Elisabeth Mahoney, The Guardian

The shower of beer rains down from the back during the best- loved songs, all fighting talk and bravado (Scooby Snacks and The Fun Lovin' Criminal). There are dry periods, notably during the slower tracks, late- night lounge lovelies from the new album, Loco, and the last one, Mimosa, but at the end of each song the same manly chant- "Hue-Eee, Hue-Eee" - fills the venue.
For those mystified by the Crims' pulling power (they sold out on both nights here) in the UK, a live gig explains it all. The band offer a fantasy of urban bad-boy antics, a mirage of rap culture. The FLCs are perfect for a generation of men who don't leave home until their late 20s. The crowd was young, mostly male, well- laundered and fed, and they wanted to be bad, just a teensy bit, for a couple of hours.
This relationship -pop band feed audience fantasy - is nothing new, but Huey, Mackie and Fast wear it well. Producing a big, bold sound between just the three of them, they fly through musical styles -heavy metal ("feel free to scream along if you like"), punk-tinged thrash numbers, hillbilly riffs (the perkily named Dickholder with which they open the show) and laid- back vibes. None is any more or less convincing, though it's a relief to get away from the pounding guitars for Love Unlimited, their Barry White tribute. For this number, as a mark of respect, the band's enormous mirrorball over the stage is lit by spotlight.
The FLCs bring larger-than-life charisma, passion (on the up-tempo numbers Fast pounds the keyboards like a muppet possessed by funk) md, in a 10-minute break, Huey's Acting School, in which he and a sidekick impersonate Darth Vader and Obi-Wan Kenobi as played by De Niro and Pacino. Huey speaks of drinking ("It took 13 beers just o get us up here tonight"), tells un-PC jokes and implores us all to cross our fingers. You cross and hope they won't do any more heavy metal, but it's not about the music. "Let's hope we all get laid tonight," Huey growls, as the beer begins to fly and the "Hue-Eee" chant starts to rumble.


Live Show

Fun Lovin' Criminals
Carlisle Sands Centre, UK, 8 March 2001

by Steve

If you've seen the guys before then you won't be surprised by any of the events on the current tour. If you haven't then you're in for a treat.
Carlisle was never on my rock 'n' roll map of the world but Thursday night changed that. In fact I had never even been to the town before. As the venue is a leisure centre I was not expecting a premier aural experience but I was pleasantly surprised, sound was excellent throughout with none of the pre-eminent, rib-crushing bass levels of the One2One gigs.
For some reason there is no DJ Mateo to warm the crowd up so the party begins at 8:15 with Super Bad Brad. I don't know where FLC find these quirky warm up acts but they surely do unearth some treasures. He's one man karaoke with a boom box the size of a small third world country looking like everyone's school geek. The crowd take him to their warm, northern hearts and celebrate him for what he is, whatever that is.
The main even begins with the band hitting the opening of Dickholder in the darkness closely followed by the expected opener, The Fun Lovin' Criminal. The crowd is already rockin' and so are the band. Huey's sounding a little hoarse however, I hope that isn't going to affect later parts of the tour.
Back to the new album for a marvellous version of Swashbucklin' In Brooklyn which, via a Mackie drum break, segues seamlessly into Up On The Hill. A little interlude while Huey tell's his diner joke. If you've seen them before then you'll know the joke. If you haven't yet then I won't spoil it for you. He tells it so well but it's about time he got a new joke book.
Time to raise the tempo again as FLC crash into Korean Bodega, a thankfully returned to the set-list Bombin' The L and an even briefer than usual Coney Island Girl. Time for another joke, one to offend the feminists in the audience although Huey claims it was told to him by a woman.
Time for a mellow interlude, no surprise that All For Self wasn't included in the One2One gigs but it's back here and it's a mighty fine version. Another segue as Loco, King Of New York and 10th Street flow effortlessly by.
If you were just getting chilled then it's time to wake up to Southside, as loud and as brash as ever. Next up that perennial favouite Huey's Acting School. A bit of a surprise treat this time - Star Wars. Or it should have been. Played out of course by Al Pacino and Robert de Niro. Unfortunately some drunken w*nker in the crowd keeps interrupting and winds Huey up so much that he cuts it short and he and Mateo never really finish their fight with light sabres.
Huey is still sounding bad-tempered and a little wired as he introduces The Biz. The songs from Loco are really sounding good tonight. Clearly well rehearsed and sounding great from a three piece. Fast does the work of ten men, of course.
Introducing Bump, Huey is once again interrupted. He replies (somewhat tersely) with "Don't be a homophobe, you already got enough stacked against you." Love Unlimited is the usual disco-fest. Having mellowed everyone out again the opening drum beats of Scooby Snacks get them going mental. The joint is really rockin.'
It's been a long time coming but it's a deafening chant of "Huey, Huey." before Where The Bums Go. "I'd like to sing a love song, I'm not asking permission." opens Huey before they slip into She's My Friend and Run Daddy Run. After hitting a blistering solo Huey is looking a bit happier and is joking with his colleagues before My Sin. Time for the big finish and that's a big, big, Big Night Out. Huey says we've been nice and he's enjoying it but the impression is that he's had happier nights.
They are gone, but we just know they won't be gone for long. Sure enough, there are soon back for a five song encore. Four mellower songs sandwiching one pumper. Half A Block, Minibar Blues, Smoke 'Em then, complete with pedal steel guitar, Little Song. There is only ever one song to close an FLC gig and it's We Have All The Time In The World.
As suddenly as it started, it's over. We struggle out into the thankfully mild night, I'd wouldn't like to have to escape from there in a fire. We've had a fabulous time, not sure whether the band have.
Catch 'em if you can. Even on a less than perfect night they are the best.


Live Show

Fun Lovin' Criminals
Isle Of Man, 2nd June 2001

From IOMonline:

by James Campbell


SO, is Huey as cool in real life? Absolutely!
Initially, it seemed a strange decision by the Department of Tourism and Leisure to bring over the Fun Lovin’ Criminals.
They are neither hard rock enough for the stereotypical biker nor mainstream enough for the locals.
Yet the gig in the Villa Marina gardens on Saturday night was well attended with 3,400 people attending - considerably more than for Cast, Reef or Republica last year.
For a three-piece FLC put on a surprisingly varied set and they dished out the favourites such as The Fun Lovin’ Criminal, Scooby Snacks, Loco (the Miller Beer advert) and Korean Bodega with gusto.
Some of the more chilled-out Latino tracks were given hard guitar treatment but maintained a laid-back feel.
Huey is as much an entertainer as a musician and cracked a few jokes which cannot be repeated here.
He also gave versatile bassist/keyboard player Brian Leiser and drummer Maxwell Jayson a rest by treating the audience to a solo set which included a cover of Johnny Cash’s Delia.
They ended their first ‘finish’ with a drawn out version of Big Night Out, with Huey comically referring to past conquests Cat Deeley and Kylie Minogue.
They made the standard stage comeback and treated the audience to several more tracks.
After the telling the audience the police were complaining and they had to go they capped off a cracking evening with their version of Louis Armstrong’s We Have All the Time in the World.
The was a great night out marred only by the lack of bars with just one catering for thousands of people which was permanently eight-people deep with people ordering 15 drinks.
FLC may have made a few new fans in the Island after this fine, entertaining set.
The idea of a band such as FLC coming to the Island didn’t sit comfortably somehow but the decision, as far as I’m concerned, has been fully vindicated.
Huey knew he’d delivered and finished the evening by saying: ‘Van Morrison, cop that!’


Live Show

Fun Lovin' Criminals
Brixton Academy, UK, 16 December 2001

by Carrieann

After spending an hour waiting outside Brixton Academy in the freezing cold and when I got inside had to wait another half an hour, I finally got to my seat.
First off, the legendary Courtney Pine - and his band - step onto the stage. Courtney was absolutely superb playing a mix of Jazz, blues and Funk. In between 'supporting acts' the lovely DJ Matteo was spinning some great tunes on the decks. Next up, Super Bad Brad with his early 80's ghetto blaster and his toy guitar had us all smiling and laughing by singing some funky songs, such as Marvin Gaye's Let's get it on.

Then the moment we were all waiting for- As DJ Matteo introduced Mackie, Huey and Fast onto the stage, a massive back drop appeared with the logo 'I love New York' and the music to Frank Sinatra's classic 'New York, New York'.. Everyone went crazy!! To start the set off the boys hit us with 'Where the bums go' followed by 'Loco', 'King of New York' and 'Smoke 'em' which always sound so brilliant live. Next they played a selection of their best rock, blues and schmoove songs with the headbangin' 'Southside' 'Run Daddy Run', 'Bump' and my favourite 'Love Unlimited'. As usual 'Scooby Snacks' had everyone jumpin' and so did 'Big Night Out'.
The boys looked as cool as ever and as always played their instruments with excellence. This was especially shown when during the middle of 'Mini Bar Blues' Huey's mic decided not to work. Huey just went to the front of the stage, sat on one of the speakers and did the main guitar piece marvelously . Every time I have seen the FLC live I am so fascinated by Fast - not just because he is so handsome!! - but because he is a wonderful musician, playing half a dozen instruments from the keyboards to the trumpet. Mackie, who always looks so cool, did the important job of giving us the beats and the grooves. Huey was his adorable, friendly self, interacted with the crowd, making sure we was having a good time and as usual making jokes. However, this time around Huey did not do his trademark 'Huey's acting school' which was a shame. Also, after the tragic events that happened in New York on September 11th Huey said it meant a great deal to him and the band to be in the UK playing gigs for us 'fans'. (It meant a great deal to us 'fans' too!)

Seeing as it is Christmas time, the stage looked all festive with Christmas lights all around the speakers and some instruments which, from where I was, looked so beautiful. Even though it is a good sized venue, I found Brixton Academy to be cold and unfriendly. After a short break, the boys came back with everyone's favourite 'Fun Lovin' Criminal' and played a few other songs before closing with as always 'We have all the time in the world'. Once again the boys had proven that they are one of the best live bands around. God Bless the Fun Lovin Criminals!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Live Show

Fun Lovin' Criminals
Doncaster Dome, UK, 18 December 2001

by Steve

Another Christmas, another FLC adventure. Or, as Huey put it, the Fun Lovin' Criminals Christmas Party.

After our last visit to a leisure centre (we don't do exercise) for the Carlisle gig in March, I was expecting another minimalist experience. Far from it this time. No queuing in the cold and the wet. No over zealous security men subjecting all and sundry to full body searches (Damn!) and no problem getting a shandy (I must employ a chauffeur.)

Having accomplished the most difficult part of the evening, finding the Dome in the rush hour, I stoked up the boiler with a burger and then settled down in the bar to kill half an hour watching the ice skaters. Doncaster is not the most gorgeous place on Earth but the Dome is certainly a credit and an asset to the town.

Doors opened at around 7.15 so we strolled in to the sports hall and assumed a position against the barrier close to Fast (because that's where there was a space, he's cute but not that cute.) The back of the stage is draped with a huge I Love NY banner and the fairy lights on the gear look like they were supplied by the Griswalds. Then came the only downside to the evening. We had to wait until 8-35 for the support act, by which time we had decided that there wasn't going to be one. We were, however, somewhat entertained by Matteo's DJ-ing prowess and some fine tunes.

Then, just as we had finally given up on him, on strolled the dishevelled figure we know as Super Bad Brad. Same hair, same glasses and still wearing that same godawful shirt. A quick twenty minutes of the usual karaoke and another town had grown to love him. We all have our niche in life, most of us never find it. This man undoubtedly has.

Then a quick 10 minutes of final preparations and the strains of Frank Sinatra's New York, New York mean that it's time for the three guys that Europe has claimed for itself. On they stroll to a rapturous welcome and the mood for the night is set. The guys are obviously glad to be back on stage and the crowd is grateful that they have found their way back to this corner of South Yorkshire.

It's a high energy set eschewing some of the slower paced stuff like She's My Friend in favour of high-energy material. Some of the older favourites have been re-introduced into the set and it's rockier as a result. One special treat is the introduction of The View Belongs To Everyone, which he says they haven't done live before and we believe him. It's preceded by a serious note as Huey thanks, well everyone I guess, for the support following the events of the last few months.

The main set ends, as always, with Big Night Out but the boys are soon back with a five song encore which opens with howling feedback from Huey that soon evolves into a ripping Fun Lovin' Criminal.

All too soon the night ends with another of the few constants of an FLC show, We Have All The Time In The World. We've not had any of the new material that's supposedly on the boil but we have had lots of old favourites, three of Huey's famous jokes, no acting school but a really big, big night out. A lot of happy faces spill out into the cold night air.

SET LIST: Where The Bums Go, Loco, King Of New York, Huey's Viagra joke, Huey's Bingo joke, Smoke 'Em, Korean Bodega, Bombin' The L, The Grave And The Constant, Run Daddy Run, 10th Street, Southside, The View Belongs To Everyone, Huey's Wanking Joke, Bump, Love Unlimited, Scooby Snacks, Coney Island Girl, Sugar, Swashbucklin' In Brooklyn, Up On The Hill, All For Self, Big Night Out, The Fun Lovin' Criminal, Minibar Blues, Half A Block, Bear Hug, We Have All The Time In The World.
...and finally ladies - who was that nice young man helping Fast? There was a school of thought on the front row that suggested it was his brother. Same good looks, same cool manner..



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