Gig review: Fat Dog at The Fulford Arms, York

Fat Dog. Picture: Pooneh GhanaFat Dog. Picture: Pooneh Ghana
Fat Dog. Picture: Pooneh Ghana
The much raved-about south London band justify the hype in a sweat-soaked show.

First of all, a huge hat tip to the Fulford Arms for landing a sold-out York show from one of this year’s fastest-rising bands. Fat Dog are newly-signed to Domino on the back of a reputation for utter bedlam at their gigs and are already being fast-tracked to the whole breathlessly-excited-Jo-Whiley treatment at this year’s Glastonbury – not to mention setting the NME twitching like it was the mid-1990s.

And let us note that the band in question were incubated by another renowned grassroots venue, south London’s The Windmill, and pause to raise a passive-aggressive eyebrow at those unable to grasp the vital role of local music venues.

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The band take the stage to a bombastic blast of The Omen theme (Beelzebub fails to join the party, but it gives them time to fight their way to the stage through the rammed room) and it’s a suitably ritualistic backdrop as the drummer dons a dog mask and five mild-mannered young musos are transformed into rock ’n’ roll shamen.

Fat Dog at The Fulford Arms, YorkFat Dog at The Fulford Arms, York
Fat Dog at The Fulford Arms, York

From the first barrage of pulsing rave synth loops and hammering post-punk bass, frontman Joe Love has the crowd going bonkers at his command, a roiling good-natured mosh pit in perpetual motion from the start.

Combining pounding dancefloor electronics and stroppy punk vocals has never been a bad idea, from The Prodigy to Sleaford Mods – and adding furiously tight live bass and drums and some fantastic ska-inspired sax for extra skankability turns out to be an even better one.

Fat Dog to date have but three singles to their name and they show their confidence by front loading the set with two of them. And, given that one is a seven-minute song called King Of The Slugs, which laughs in the face of radio-friendliness as it goes through more musical shifts than Bohemian Rhapsody, confidence is not something that’s in short supply here.

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People are bellowing along to the opening riff, Seven Nation Army-style, before Joe Love even opens his mouth, and all resistance to the siren call to join the mosh is futile from then on.

New release Running props up the back end of the set, stirring the boiling cauldron of released energy. Fat Dog seem to be scratching an itch that people didn’t even realise they had – a band whose roots lie in the pandemic, they are all about the thrill and connection of the live show.

It’s over in barely 50 euphoric, sweat-soaked minutes, so I hope the hype doesn’t kill them before they’ve even got going – their debut album WOOF is on the way.

But regardless of where their meteoric upward journey is heading, if you get a chance to join them, make sure you don’t miss out.

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