Fun Lovin’ Criminals – 1st February 2019 – Northumbria Institute
Review by Donna Wyatt. Photos by Gav Wyatt (G.Wyatt photography)
Kicking off February on a white-out freezing night in Northumbria University, New York’s most loved Fun Loving Criminals brought the classically smooth funk that has been a soundtrack to our lives since the 90’s.
I remember the first time I heard Scooby snacks, probably one of their most notable and memorable hits, and how it instantly got into the psyche of a generation. Looking around the audience I saw an eclectic mix of people, perhaps reflective of the eclectic music on offer, as Criminals span a range of genres including rhythm and blues, hip hop, funk and soul.
Lead singer Huey Morgan had suffered an injury to his leg recently so had to remain seated, but his rapport was not diminished as his humour and mischievous personality shone from his red leather chair while he sipped on Remy Martin. Drummer, Frank Benbini (a Brit who recalled a year working at Spanish City and a special place in his heart for the North East) worked the crowd and won hearts instantly, not once fading into the background as he exuded great showmanship and banter, Whilst the equally charming Brian Leiser handled Bass, keyboards, Trumpet and Harmonica with ease and style and was quite the charmer, often cracking the whip to keep the boys on track and steering the tangents back to the music.
Huey was on top form despite a heady mix of brandy and painkillers and being stuck in a chair with his smooth voice and wit and had a plentiful supply of guitar picks to ensure a good few spectators took a souvenir home. The camaraderie between the 3 was tight and endearing whilst the music went through belting classics such as Loco, Fun Loving Criminals, Love Unlimited and Scooby Snacks and to more recent offerings from the latest album, Another Mimosa.
It was a banging set delivered in style and although it might have been a freezing cold, snow-covered night everyone left with warm fuzzy smiles.
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