‘You just walked straight into me; f*ck you!’ says the drunken man to a woman half his size who accidentally just spilt a drop of a pint that he clearly didn’t need another sip of. Yes, it’s a weird crowd this evening. It seems that the children of the 90’s, the ones who would remember FLC, haven’t aged well and they can’t handle their beer. A man the spitting image of Bez, complete with fisherman hat, pumps his fist in the air. Oh. Dear.

And what the hell is Cambridge guitar legend, Booga, doing treading the boards with Dopamine Jackson? Even he looks mildly embarrassed. It’s OK. I’m not entirely sure anyone recognises him. A rather generic funk/pub band whose lyrics are sprinkled with the odd ‘muthaf*cker’, in a very middle class accent for extra effect, they write a good pop tune but I don’t remember a single note. Sorry. All power to you for getting this gig though.

Very relieved when Huey Morgan and co appear on stage, particularly as they have kept us waiting for about half an hour. But, ah, Huey. Huey Morgan. Only you would pull off being called Huey. You might have less hair now and your face may be a little fuller but you are still a fine figure of a man… Oh yes, the music. I’m here to write about the music. Ahem.

I last saw Fun Lovin’ Criminals back in 1996 (I think), at my first festival (Reading) when Scooby Snacks played from every tent and three New Yorkers bought their slightly kitsch fusion of jazz, blues, hip hop and rock to the masses in a way that didn’t take themselves too seriously but didn’t detract from the fact that they were seriously good musicians. 20 years later and you’re playing to a group of middle-aged men, one of whom threatened a girl with violence and got chucked out (yes, the same guy). Huey quips ‘he may be getting thrown out but he’s the guy that’s managed to get more drunk than any of you’. Yeah, I think I’ll just let him get on with it. You have to wonder how the journey brought them here.

That said, even the plus one is moving and smiling when the band’s theme tune ‘Fun Lovin’ Criminals’ starts up, launching something of a nostalgic set but one that manages to sound as fresh as it does classic. The one whose name nobody ever knew (Brian Leiser) is tipped tonight as the brains of the band and he looks like he is too; sharp suits, of course, and emphatically parping his trumpet. The original drummer has been replaced by Frank, a dude from Leicester who keeps telling Huey to hurry up (he talks a lot). Not surprisingly, it is a greatest hits party, showcasing their best bits from the last 20 years, or predominantly those tracks from the late 90s for which they were so well known. Bringing ‘Loco’, ‘King of New York’ and most of (all of?) ‘Come Find Yourself’ back to life, this is a great reminder of how good a group they are and their arrangements really do invoke a mood of fun, despite the drunk men getting ever drunker. The evening ends with the dulcet tones of Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes as ‘Time of my life’ heralds the group’s exit with glass of red in hand, leaving those still dancing with the very best start to their weekend. I have to admit that, although a fan, even I didn’t think the gig would be that good. It was. I’ve read a lot of hipster snobs saying they’ve lost it. They haven’t. Will they do some new material? They should.

Anna C