Approaching The Enmore Theatre, you could feel the buzz coming from the throng of people gathered for the kick-off of Fat Freddy’s Drop sold out Australia Tour. People were already moving and shuffling their feet in anticipation of a night of stellar grooves from this band of Kiwis.
With the smell of beer, sweat and the some sort of burning weed filling the room, there was no doubt that Thursday is the new Friday night and people were ready to celebrate. Jammed to the rafters, the room erupted as the ensemble drifted onto the stage to the slow dub shuffling of the title track of their latest release, Blackbird.
The triple threat horn section had some time to cut loose on this first lengthy track of the night. Scott Towers on saxophone, Toby Laing on trumpet and the formidable lunacy of Joe Lindsay on trombone filled the room with the soulful blowing that would captivate the audience for the two hour set.
With 13 years of experience and a few releases under their belt, Fat Freddy’s Drop seem to be going from strength to strength. With a strong following down here below the equator and in Europe, word of mouth should keep their motor running for as long as they want to ride.
The formidable vocal qualities of Joe Dukie during the funky “Clean The House” were stunningly clear and the groove of the keyboards of Iain Gordon led us into the sway and bop of the horn section once more. People were screaming along with the joyful tunes in the air and the energy level within the Enmore was peaking rapidly only a quarter of a way into this shakedown.
With nearly every under 40 groovy New Zealand ex-pat in attendance, each song was greeted with the knowledge of the bands catalogue. People were singing along and waving their hands in the air as the band launched into “Cay’s Crays” from the Based On A True Story release. The interplay between Duchie’s singing and the horn section, and the solid rhythm section, sent a further jolt of electricity through an already fired up audience.
“Roady”, from the same album, was a perfect segue and this found the throbbing dance floor being lifted slightly off the ground. With some rapping and true vocal participation from the crowd, the band members and the audience were all on fire.
At some point the trombonist, who could not stand still, had stripped down to his shorts, long socks and singlet and was having the time of his life. With the production crew bringing up the lights in the house many times throughout the evening, you could look around and see strangers and friends grinning from ear to ear with eyes closed and bodies shaking and swaying.
The number of songs in the bands set list may not number many but the quality far outweighs the quantity. “Mother, Mother” was stellar and the near to closing house rocking number of “Shiverman” might have been the ultimate groove of the evening based on the heaving floorboards of the aged theatre.
Fat Freddy’s Drop have sold out (all the tickets that is) and will be in Melbourne for a number of show and back to the Enmore on September 3rd to bring it all back home one more time.