Yankee trio Fun Lovin’ Criminals brought the sound of New York City to Glasgow as they toured their latest album Another Mimosa, and we were lucky enough to catch their set at Barrowlands on Saturday night. The venue was packed and being a weekend set at the Barras I expected a hustle and bustle to get near to the front of the stage. I couldn’t have been more wrong. The band were the definition of charismatic and laid-back, as were their crowd. Very few people could pull off sitting in what appeared to be nothing less than a red leather throne, but frontman Huey Morgan simply oozed cool in doing so.
I was slightly sceptical of what to expect of their new album live as I’m more familiar with their older tracks – the infamous Scooby Snacks of course. This doubt was quickly subsided when the band started playing The King of New York. The wah-wah and authenticity of this song made it sure that we were in for a good night and certified that these three really were the ‘kings’ of New York and were not going to leave without a lasting impression on fans -old and new alike.
They started their set with track ‘Hello Again’ from their new album, and it really did seem to be that way. The band are well over their quarter of a century mark, and despite being the first time I have seen them live, they manage to encompass a familiarity that you can’t simply achieve through listening to a record.
The irresistibly smooth talking-trio continually engaged with the crowd between each and every song – something which every artist does. The difference being, when they did it, it genuinely felt like they meant it. They weren’t just musing from a pre-prepared script. And, it must be said they are one of the very few people that could string the sentence, “Play the mother-f**king trumpet”, together and make it sound extra mucho-grande.
Particularly enjoyable was Mary Jane’s Last Dance, from their latest album. Their cover of Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers’ is perhaps a rarity by the way re-envisioned songs go and could be considered better than the original. With its flux of classic-rock guitar chords and the harmonica, it’s one that shouldn’t work, but couldn’t be imagined without the other.
Ending with their ‘theme song’, The Fun Lovin’ Criminal, this band have aged like a fine wine and seem to get better with each year and album that passes. With the rare ability to mix all genres and still have a refreshing outcome, they have remained true to their original sound from the start. A band truly like no other, in sound and character alike, I hope they return swiftly.
Words and picture by Emma Malcolmson