Review and photos by Antony Roberts
Last night I went to see Fu Manchu. It’s been 16 years since I last saw them gracing the stage at the now sadly demolished LA2 in London. The question before arrival was would they still rock live? Coming off the back of their latest album “Gigantoid” my hopes were high, it’s Fu Manchu back on form with the riffs that got me into them in the first place. Within seconds of taking the stage any fears were allayed as they kicked into “Eatin Dust” bouncing around the stage like men half their age, rocking out, hair flying everywhere. When he was not at the mic Scott Hill bended in every direction over his clear acrylic guitar with a single SSD sticker on the front, a nod to his punk roots.
It took a few more songs for the audience to warm up as much as the band but by “Boogie Van” heads were banging, beers were flowing and a pit opened up. “Dimension Shifter” from their latest album felt like an old friend already, the audience sang along and as the solo kicked in damn they sounded good, really good. The sound was spot on with Brad’s bass thumping along in the background whilst Scott and Bob’s fuzzed up riffs and bluesy leads kept feet tapping and heads nodding.
“Regal Begal” set the audience into overdrive with the pit growing ever larger and as I was taking notes on my phone I realised I was the only wanker with his phone out. Granted i was taking notes, not filming or taking photos but I don’t remember the last time I went to a gig and there wasn’t a sea of phones held aloft ruining the view. No one was filming, everyone was head banging and watching the band, it was bloody awesome!
Following “Regal Begal” Scott asked the audience to check on a guy in the pit who was a bit worse for wear. He was ok so they continued with another song from the new album “Anxiety Reducer”. It’s a plodding little number with some fantastic little solos and the catchy chorus had the audience singing along and nodding away to the slow swinging drum beat. “Evil Eye” was next and as soon as the opening wah wah riff kicked in everyone lost their shit and the biggest pit of the night opened up. Everywhere I looked everyone was bouncing around with the biggest grins on their faces, it was truly something special to watch an audience so into the music and having so much fun.
Scott asked the audience if anyone has their Daredevil release before they launched into “Push Button Magic” from said album followed by “Tri-Planetary” then Scott Hill informed us that “this is our last song for the evening the song is called King of the Road”. The crowd let out a giant roar and everyone jumped in for what we assumed to be the last song. Due to a club night there was a strict 10pm curfew so they left the stage and with it being so close to 10pm I assumed there would be no encore or if there was it would be a short one. How wrong I was though they came back out for “just one more” and graced us with the sublime and lengthy psych rock out “Saturn iii” bringing the end to a great night.
You can catch Fu Manchu at Desertfest Belgium along with Electric Wizard, Brant Bjork, Yob and loads more – more info here.