Packed venue loves Fatboy


By Margaret Chrystall
Published: 24 April, 2008

WHATEVER else you can say about Fatboy Slim, the punters love him ‘ and he loves them right back.

Right here, right now ‘ Inverness Ironworks, Thursday night ‘ he’s powered up like a grinning sun by the welcoming cheer that greets his arrival and the arms that bounce up to salute the veteran DJ and producer.

The venue was packed out for the one-off night organised last-minute to get the most out of his recce trip to the Rock Ness site.

Earlier in the day at the interviews organised at the Dores Inn, he seemed a bag of nerves.

A trembling hand grasped his Coke glass, though he grinned and did his best to seem relaxed.

Already there was a story that he’d been having a fly cigarette out front before his press grilling ‘ the only time he smoked, he’d confessed to a local.

Some bright spark suggested getting the cigarette butt to sell on eBay’  sadly, he’d tidily taken it with him!

But there’s never a sign of nerves when he’s performing.

The fortysomething DJ comes to life behind the record decks, where he still uses records in the old-fashioned way ‘ though there’s the inevitable laptop too ‘ and a couple of guys assisting the smooth running of the set.

Local DJ Wallace had opened the night, while Glasgow’s Boom Monk Ben followed and had set up a rising tide of emotion and excitement.

Known for a mix that’s every bit as eclectic as Fatboy’s ‘ drum n bass, soul, funk, reggae, 80s pop ‘“ he had answered his night-before-call-up by offering a tantalising taste of what he can do.

Classic Northern soul made-pop number Tainted Love ‘ with just possibly original Sixties singer Gloria Jones – gave way to The Fugees’ Ready Or Not and into classic 80s indie pop, courtesy of The Cure.

But though the sound was mesmerising, the stage presence didn’t have the sheer, onstage charisma you always get from Fatboy Slim. There’s a catalogue of useful hand signals that Fatboy uses to pump up the mood ‘“ salute, clapping us, arms out and taking the praise, listening hand to ear to hear us holler ‘ it all keeps every eye in the house on him.

Fatboy Slim on stage at The Ironworks. Bobby Nelson

highlandnews2>Earlier in the day, he’d stated that there would be nothing from the upcoming new album in his Ironworks set ‘“ all saved to preview at Rock Ness proper.

But it wasn’t strictly true. And we did get a sneaky preview of the new album after all.

For alongside the big favourites we should have expected ‘ including his remix of The Automatic’s Monster, such a crowd trigger when he unveiled it in his Rock Ness headlining set two years ago ‘ there was at least one wee treat from his newest work.

Already featured on the soundtrack album from TV series Heroes out last month, the Fatboy version of The Monochrome Set’s track Hey Frank (Slight Return) snuck into the set.

The unmistakeable gravelly tones of the track’s featured artist Iggy Pop quickly gave the game away. Fatboy has said elsewhere the Iggy track won’t be the first single from the album which looks set to be released under Fatboy’s Brighton Port Authority guise.

And with other musical guests on the album set to include Talking Heads’ David Byrne and Martha Wainwright, it looks as if the mash-ups of music genres, voices and beats you find in his live set will be matched by the new album.

All too soon, it’s over. The Velvet Underground’s I’m Waiting For The Man gives way to some technical hitch. Fatboy reaches for a record to save the day ‘“ and it’s Sparks’ Number One All Over Heaven. Manic, thrillingly camp, it minces off as a longtime Fatboy favourite warms up to end the show. Bob Marley’s Could You Be Loved twists the dial to mellow.

Fatboy salutes us, takes the praise and grins like a man who believes his own track’s mantra ‘ “Fatboy Slim is f***ing in heaven”.


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