Fun Lovin' Criminals - Manchester Life Cafe - 10.12.00

Huey - Is he like James Bond or what? Forget that Robbie William's bloke. It's Huey that all the guys want to be like and it's Huey who all the girls want to sleep with. Tonight suited and booted the 3 piece, complete with new drummer Mackie, walk on-stage to a standing ovation at this competition winners only gig. Run by the mobile phone company One 2 One, they want to achieve the ultimate in product placement and all that heavy marketing shit - what their basic philosophy is that you buy a One 2 One mobile phone, go to a One 2 One gig and live the One 2 One Lifestyle (Ed: Read Naomi Klein's "No Logo" book for more info on this lifestyle marketing).

The first set is the lounge core set which allows for us to get chilled. Huey, effortlessly natural as he sings his way gruffly through "On The Hill" and the loungecore version of "Scooby Snacks". New songs like "Back on the Block" are well received by all as are Hueys stories of "red bull and cocaine". A break ensues and Q&A sesh for the fans follows for about 15 minutes, its a moment that for many bands would be a complete disaster - but with Huey's charismatic presence it simply adds to what is simply a great show.

With contractual obligations out of the way its time for the rocking set. "Loco" which can be heard on the Miller Advert has a sleazy funk guitar line. Throughout the show constantly making references to the advert, he laughs it off with "you always knew we liked beer" - just who wouldn't turn down that sort of money. "Run Daddy Run" takes us back to the old hip hop days with a stop start guitar riff throughout. The newies may not have the immediate hooks of the hit singles but its definitely a return to form. With a few old faves ("King Of New York", "Barry White" and a rocking "Scooby Snacks") thrown in for good measure the crowd walk away satisfied from this intimate showcase and the guys themselves - well they're "Kings Of Manchester" tonight aren't they.

Alex McCann