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Fat White Family deliver chaotic headline set as London’s Visions Festival returns for third year

Hinds, The Antlers and Camera Obscura also performed at multi-venue event in Hackney

Fat White Family brought Visions Festival in London to a chaotic climax last night (August 8).

The Brixton-based six-piece were among the headline acts at the multi-venue event which saw new acts such as The Big Moon and Oscar performing alongside more established artists The Antlers, Andy Stott and Toy. The annual event, which takes place in multiple venues around the Hackney area of the capital, returned for its third year.

Stripped to the waist from the off, Fat White Family frontman Lias Saoudi barked the words to set opener ‘Auto/Neutron’ and a wild rendition of ‘I Am Mark E Smith’ as his band caused pandemonium at The Laundry. They topped a day of music at the underground venue that saw Dublin’s Girl Band and US hardcore act Ceremony deliver punishing and noise-filled sets. Girl Band proved particularly popular, with organsiers operating a one-in, one-out policy on the door before they even began playing.

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Fat White Family were treated like returning heroes and responded to their warm reception with a triumphant set reflective of a band who have spent the past two years touring solidly. ‘Touch The Leather’ and ‘Is It Raining In Your Mouth?’ were typical of a set laced with danger and seedy glamour while fans crowdsurfed throughout ‘Heaven On Earth’.

The band have been busy recording a new album in America, including sessions with Sean Lennon. However, there were no new songs in the set. The audience seemed unfazed by a set that the band have been playing for years, with regular set closer ‘Bomb Disneyland’ seeing the band off into the night.

Fat White Family played:

‘Auto Neutron’
‘I Am Mark E Smith’
‘Whitest Boy On The Beach’
‘Is It Raining In Your Mouth?’
‘Cream Of The Young’
‘Wild American Prairie’
‘Heaven On Earth’
‘Touch The Leather’
‘Bomb Disneyland’

NMEWunmi Onibudo

Earlier in the day at the same venue, Merchandise brought their transatlantic ballads to the stage for a set leaning heavily on 2014 album ‘After The End’. “We’re about to go and record a new album,” frontman Carson Cox told the audience while brushing his now long hair from his face. “There won’t be any new songs today but soon we’ll have other songs to play and people will complain we don’t play the old stuff.”

Taking their opportunity to hear the material before fresher songs appear, a small but involved audience danced and sang along to ‘Little Killer’ and set highlight, ‘Telephone’.

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A new venue to the festival for 2015 was St John Church, which brought more gentle indie bands in the shape of The Antlers, Jens Lekman and headliners Camera Obscura while over at Oval Space, XL Recordings’ Shamir played an energetic mid-afternoon set.

Shamir was watched by members of Hinds, who played the same venue earlier in the day, as he delivered 45 minutes of fun electro-pop. Despite the searing heat inside and out, the crowd moved to ‘Call It Off’ while ‘On The Regular’ brought one of the day’s first festival ‘moments’.

Other artists who performed at the festival included JJ and Peaking Lights.

In addition to live music, Visions also brought exhibitions and installations from local artists plus a special Street Food festival, Adam And Eve Ale, East London Screen Print Class, Record + Art Market and AV Installations.

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