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Live review: The Fratellis, Sunday April 6 @ The Metro

Words by Scenewave Australia - Published on April 8, 2014

When we spoke to Fratellis frontman Jon Fratelli (real name John Lawler) last year, he lamented that during their last visit to our shores “..we underperformed, I think. We were in the process of having had enough at that point, so it’ll be nice to put that right” and put it right they did.

From beginning to end the band gave it 100{6dc52fbdce2f0f97cf8a089cc5e2946dca963f75b53e76b06e4c7d8acf27faad} in a set that had the whole room jumping, dancing, swaying and singing to their brand of riff-heavy anthemic rock.  The band were dripping in sweat, no doubt more accustomed to the cold climate of their native Glasgow than the humid Sydney Sunday night. The frizzy-haired Jon owned the stage, throwing his his guitar violently with every power chord, while drummer Mince aka Gordon McRory (who has a palm tree tattooed on the side of his fucking head) beat the drums in double time with startling precision.

Opening the set with a slew of their better known earlier songs like Flathead and Lupe Brown, the crowd noticeably calmed down as they began playing  She’s Not Gone Yet But She’s Leaving from their latest album, 2013’s ‘We Need Medicine’. But unlike some bands whose music is all-but-ignored when played in between their bigger hits, the audience were clearly still enjoying it.

The bands newer material, which is far more bluesy and retained (and which contains far less of the catchy singalong bridges which defined their earlier work) was not received with as much vigour as songs from their debut album, but the set was paced well, ensuring that everyone who came to see them that night would hear their favourite songs. Besides, ‘We Need Medicine’ isn’t bad. In fact, it’s fantastic. It’s simply a little different to what people know of The Fratellis. When they launched into fan favourite Whistle for the Choir the crowd carried the song singing all the way through to the first chorus before Jon even sang a word.

The elephant in the room all night was, of course, their mammoth hit Chelsea Dagger. The song obviously casts a shadow over the bands career that they are eager, and unable, to escape. I didn’t know if it would be feature tonight, it’s kind of like hearing Radiohead play Creep. By the time the show came to and end, there was still no Chelsea Dagger in sight, and the audience began chanting the iconic bridge, almost tauntingly, until the boys abated and returned to the stage. They entered into a new song before jumping straight into the track and the room went wild. There wasn’t a single person standing still, everyone was enthusiastically singing along from beginning to end.

I wasn’t sure if the band would enjoy playing this, or if it was done through gritted teeth, but considering that they haven’t played in so long, and it’s fairly unlikely we’ll see them back any time soon, I can understand why they relented – and the audience rewarded them richly.

The rowdy audience didn’t stop moving from start to end. While some may have just been there to see ‘The band that plays that football song’, we all walked out of the Metro satisfied and impressed by one of the more engaging and energetic sets I’ve seen in a while.

Written by guest reporter Josh Seaegg

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