Insecure Men – Patterns – 16th March 2018

Photo by Liam McMillen

Insecure Men, the joint project from Fat White Family’s Saul Adamczewski and Childhood’s Ben Romans-Hopcraft, released their debut record last month, which is a wonderfully bizarre album that explores the likes of celebrity death and Operation Yewtree in the style of a Saturday morning kid’s TV show. They showcased the album at Brighton’s Patterns, which was the final leg of the tour, with an impressive eight-piece band, which doubly heightened the madcap nature and grounded its two central leads.

First off, let me just state that this was a typically weird Friday night in Brighton. First act of the night, Dave Sleaze, dressed like a tribute to wrestler The Undertaker, played songs such as ‘All I Got for Christmas is Cancer’, while also offering communion wine to the audience in a creepy, yet seductive way. Sleaze by name, sleaze by nature. This oddball essence was lapped up by the audience, who were enjoying his kooky, off-kilter rhythms and his intense, dark lyrical content.

Raf Rundell and his menagerie of friends continued the descent into eccentricity. Arriving on stage donning a dolphin head, along with a man dressed in knee-high boots and ladies underwear, it was a frequently unpredictable support slot. However, his music was incredibly fun. An r’n’b, hip-hop and trip-hop inflected ode to wrestler Ric Flair is a fun, atmospheric track, while best song of the night, ‘Sweet Cheeks’, from last year’s Stop Lying, is a fabulously catchy tune that evokes 70s funk and Northern Soul.

Arriving on stage just before their allotted stage time, it was already clear to see that Adamczewski and Romans-Hopcraft are enjoying the sense of freedom that Insecure Men has given them. Adamczewski, in particular, appears to be far more comfortable on the stage. Opening with, “My Auntie and Uncle said they might come down for this, scream if you’re here…” to deadly silence, he quickly retorted, “didn’t make it” to flourishing laughter. Opening with ‘Cliff Has Left the Building’, about Operation Yewtree, it was a dreamy opening, with a flourishing melody and beautiful saxophone which brought the best out of the fantastic eight-piece ensemble.

First ever single ‘Subaru Nights’ follows with its distorted, unsteady and sumptuously bewitching inflections receiving one of the best reactions of the night. One of the most profound moments of the evening, however, came from a stripped-back version of album track ‘Whitney Houston and I’, which is about the devastating similarities between the way Whitney Houston and her daughter Bobbi Brown died. The song, predominately just featuring Adamczewski, showcased his talents as a singer, as well as a performer, as he captivated the Patterns crowd, so much so that a deadly silence fell across it. There’s not many that can beat Adamczewski for a sardonic croon.

The atmosphere pricked up again, though, with the rowdiest song of the night ‘Mekong Glitter’ creating mosh pits and jumping between the younger members of the audience. The euphoric repetition of: “Why? Don’t You Ever Ask Why?” created a rambunctious energy that, very nearly, evoked that of a Fat White Family gig. This showcased the talent of the group immediately. Much like Saul’s other bands, there aren’t many groups that could get an audience to dance and jive around to a song about Gary Glitter, but its infectious riff make it impossible not to.

Towards the end of the gig, the Patterns soundsystem appeared to be struggling with the demand of an eight-piece unit and, as such, their organ broke down before the last song. However, it was really a blessing in disguise as it caused Adamczewski to play the Fat White Family track ‘Goodbye Goebbels’ instead. The Songs for Our Mothers closing track was the perfect ending to an excellent night. Profound, captivating and deeply moving, Insecure Men is yet another weapon in the arsenal of both Adamczewski and Romans-Hopcraft, which, in turn, is another example that they’re two of the best indie artists of the 21st Century. Oh, and in case you’re wondering, Saul’s auntie and uncle made it halfway through the gig to an ecstatic response by both Adamczewski and the audience. Celebrations all round.

Liam McMillen