Gig preview: Fat Suit & Angus Munro

They skip genres like an Olympic hurdler, require the precision of a military operation to stage, and can put on a show that would give Jimi Hendrix something to think about where the word “experience” is concerned.

Yes, it’s Scotland’s very own HGV of groove, Fat Suit.

A multi-genre instrumental outfit comprising 14-plus top musicians, it seems appropriate this mash-up of funk, fusion, jazz and folk should bring their collective booty to Edinburgh’s Mash House tonight as part of their Rubix Tour.

Are you up for squeezing your backside in the door?

The Glasgow-based band have certainly achieved quite a lot over the past couple of years, appearing on national telly and radio, whilst racking up good press and gigs along the way.

Currently promoting new EP, Rubix, as part of a national tour; one thing fans may recognise about this evening’s show, however, is the surprise addition of vocalist Angus Munro.

A saxophonist, pianist, and songwriter in his own right, Munro just happens to possess a four-octave singing range – think Jeff Buckley, Freddie Mercury, Rufus Wainwright – bringing a colourful, flamboyant sense of the theatrical to the front of the stage.

Question is, Angus: how does one of Edinburgh’s most swinging singers end up on the Fat Suit tour bus?

“I was a couple of years above most of the band at the BA Applied Music course at Strathclyde University. We became good friends and that was pretty much it until December 2013.”

Fat Suit have firmly established themselves as an instrumental outfit since their inception in 2012. What made them decide now was a good time to bring in a vocalist?

“I was asked to sing the Michael Jackson medley (the one on YouTube) at a Fat Suit gig at the Old Bridge Inn in Aviemore as a one off; we ended up having an absolute blast and the whole set was really well received. From there, we started talking about doing a string of shows – like that one  – and fusing my own material with theirs.”

You’re a regular presence at The Jazz Bar, particularly with Glamour And The Babes. Can you tell us a little bit about your own musical background?

 “My dad’s vinyl collection was a huge part of what made me get into the songs and songwriters I love, although he was more of a prog rock fan. I tended to move towards the crooners – Frank Sinatra, Mel Torme, Jack Jones etc. I gravitated towards the stories of Randy Newman, Sting, and enjoyed the work of Alan Menken/ Howard Ashman far more than what was being offered on the radio as a kid.”

The current tour – The Rubix Tour – is also named after the EP. What’s the story behind it?

“The idea of the three track EP that we released was to mix together my vocal and writing styles, and songs I’ve put out, along with Fat Suit’s brand of fusion/ jazz-funk, and see what we’d end up with. Kind of like jumbling a Rubik’s Cube, and seeing if you can make something better.”

How well has the band been received on tour? Any backstage stories you’d like to share? There’s so many musicians involved, how do you all manage to fit everyone on the same stage?

“The tour’s been a heck of a lot of fun and crowds have been a real mix of young and old – really great to see in a high energy gig like this one is. The amount of work Fat Suit put into getting everyone into the same room and playing right on the money every time is a story in itself – blows my mind at every venue we’ve been to.”

You play The Mash House tonight. What can Fat Suit fans, and those who haven’t seen the band live yet, expect?

“A big mix of Fat Suit originals, new tracks from their third album (as of yet unreleased), selections from my back catalogue we’ve arranged together, and a few medleys with some surprises in them.”

What’s your plans after the tour? Will you continue with Fat Suit?

“I’ll be concentrating on finishing a record I’ve been working on for a few years. It’s almost complete, so I’m looking forward to moving on with it. If Fat Suit ask to a one off show, another EP again, though, I’d happily do it in a heart beat.”

You’re very well known on the local funk scene. Any plans to do more of your own solo material?

“I’m keeping my lips sealed for my own sake on this one but, as the record is slowly becoming more of a reality, I’ll start touring with my band across the country and workshopping it.”

Sum up Fat Suit in three words…

“One big outfit.”

Fat Suit & Angus Munro, The Mash House, Guthrie Street, Edinburgh, tonight, 7pm, £14, 0131 220 2514

Words: Barry Gordon