Review: Fat Dog @ The Joiners, 19/10/23: the much-hyped band delivers an exciting set full of beats and theatrics


Dance-punk, theatrics and masks... what more can you want from a fun band?

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Forming during lockdown, the recently Domino Records-signed Fat Dog have quickly become one of the most hyped new names in British alternative music. As they reach the middle of their first UK headline tour, does it live up to the hype?

Opening the show was instrumental solo artist Bite The Boxer. With his music ranging from Public Service Broadcasting-akin old audio-sampling “vibey” rock to cuts that sound directly out the soundtrack of ‘Blade Runner’, it’s an interesting choice to proceed such a lively band, but is ultimately pleasant enough – if not spectacular.

Fat Dog are an interesting case as to date they have only released one single, August’s rave-punk stomper ‘King of the Slugs’. Therefore as a band that pretty much live and die by their live show, they have to bring something special to the table – and they absolutely do. Opening to a 2-minute audio countdown, it’s clear from the offset that Fat Dog’s live show is rooted in theatrics. Not a moment goes by without something instantly ‘memable’ occuring on stage: from the drummer’s impressively realistic dog mask to synth-maestro Chris reciting a fantasy tale to introduce a succeeding song. It is a little distracting at times, and makes the headline set’s mere 45-minute runtime feel even more penurious, but is also undeniably entertaining.

Absolutely nothing is low-key or understated about them. From front man Joe’s Biblical Moses-esque crowd-parting stunts to multi-instrumentalists Morgan and Chris’s pop dance choreography, its tricky to find a band that entices and commands such a lively crowd that ultimately know very few lyrics.

It also helps that the band’s music is very instrumental-heavy, often ending in minutes long house-style breakdowns or saxophone solos from Morgan, making me question whether Fat Dog instead evoke the spirit of Klaxons and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs rather than the post-punk tag that is often lazily bestowed on them. It’s a niche that hasn’t been fulfilled in this country for quite some time now, and with dance music currently dominating the UK charts, perhaps Fat Dog can look forward to a similar rise to Domino’s recent proteges Wet Leg.

With their debut album set to release in 2024, it’ll be interesting to see whether Fat Dog can continue their ascent up the indie ladder, but for now they’re easily providing one of the most entertaining sets I’ve seen in a while – just a shame it didn’t entertain me for longer.

Fat Dog are currently on a UK headline tour, tickets can be purchased here. Check out the video for ‘King of the Slugs’ below:



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