Live Review: Fat Freddy's Drop

14 November 2022 | 12:26 pm | Shaun Colnan

“There was such a ruckus they would only let us come back now.”

Photo Credit: Mikki Gomez

Photo Credit: Mikki Gomez

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Anyone who finds themselves at a Fat Freddy’s Drop concert, no matter how they’re feeling beforehand, can’t help but lose themselves in the atmosphere the band delivers. It’s a tried and true method, as lead singer Joe Dukie repeats, “Music on my mind…” - their music infests the mind, infests the body, and makes you smile.

Set in the glorious surrounds of the forecourt, nestled between the Botanic Gardens and the resplendent harbour, rainbows in the East ushered in the Wellington seven-piece as the sun set. They moved with a characteristically slow and heady buildup into their set, beginning with the recent release, Coffee Black, a slow and meditative piece.

As with most of their music, this early showing hit deep in the soul, closely followed by Blackbird, the title track on their 2013 album - a throwback to the last time the band performed at the Opera House. Dukie joked, “There was such a ruckus they would only let us come back now.” 

In fact, this was a show three years in the making, delayed by COVID, of course. Dukie thanked the audience again and again for sticking with them. There was no denying that Fat Freddy’s fans would wait out pandemics, skank in a downpour, and so much more just to see them one more time.

Other tracks from their 2013 LP, Bones and Mother Mother, seemed to be gaining some ascendancy as crowd favourites, with many singing along to the soulful, acoustic-tinged former and grooving along to the heavier, dancier latter.

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Yet, there was still a soft spot in everyone’s hearts for long-time favourites Shiverman and Wandering Eye, which showed itself in swathes of revellers ducking low before rising in jubilant unison on the former and joining in on the chorus with cheers on the latter.

A special intermission saw trombonist wildcard, pied piper party-man, Hopepa, aka Joe Lindsay, down tools on the bone and pick up a harmonica as the rest of the band took a break. The big man, drenched in sweat, theatrically collapsed on stage to an awestruck audience who cawed at his antics. 

Then as an encore, the band returned for a rehashing of their first ever track, Hope for a Generation, a timeless piece, with a simple and heart-warming message which Dukie entreated the entire audience to join in on.

Earlier, Perth five-piece Grievous Bodily Calm brought their instrumental antics to the Forecourt, drawing in early birds with a mix of synthy jazz, a high-intensity synergy between drums, guitar, horns and keys, as well as shredding guitar solos. Their debut EP, ARC, is well worth checking out if you’ve yet to come across them.