Fat Freddy’s Drop @ Manchester Academy, 15th November 2008.
About sixteen years ago I was lucky enough to see one of the greatest gigs of my life in the Manchester Academy, the amazing yet psychotic Ministry. Tonight’s gig by the equally amazing but much more chilled out Fat Freddy’s Drop is up there as well, easily one of the greatest live bands ever to play Manchester. So OK this may not be the most prolific band for releasing music, the new album has just been put back again, but live, wow, this band are constantly on tour and seem to have been for the last 3 or 4 years. Too their credit the reason the venue is so busy tonight is because of the reputation that has been built around being a live/ touring band. Tonight’s show which chugs on for an amazing two hours is a tight a hell marathon jam session, Fat Fred’ brilliantly work the crowd up for the first hour then chill it right back down for the second half of the show. Usually I have had enough of the best of bands after an hour but tonight I am captivated by 9 people on stage really enjoying themselves, and that’s the big difference between Fat Fred’s and a lot of other bands, Fat Fred’s do it for the love of doing it, just see the smiles and the asses shaking on stage. Even though the new album has been delayed we are treated to a fair few songs from the album, names of tunes as yet a mystery, but the feel of them seems to be a little more up beat and funkier than the tunes from, “Based on a true story”, much of which is served up tonight as much longer mixes/ jams. At times the music seems like a bizarre mixture of dub, funk and German oomph a sound. Joe Dukie’s vocals as ever are beautiful, as are the brass section, never has funkier dancing been seen in The Academy. The drums and keyboards are tight, very tight, and are boosted by Joe Dukie playing live bass on a few tunes. Fitchie as always watches over everything from the back of the stage like a Buddha, controlling effects and the bands sound. As I leave I enter an argument with my best mate as to this being the best Fat Fred’s gig we have seen, I think it is, he argues that the first time at The Big Chill was better. Fat Fred’s he thinks are like crack, first hit leaves you so high but wanting so much more, I disagree, I just think they are the greatest touring band of the last ten years.