Fat Freddy's Drop @ The Metro, Sydney (24/03/06)
Sun 26th Mar, 2006 Event Reviews 1744 viewsin
Fat Freddy’s Drop are a seven-piece New Zealand collective from Wellington. Their last album, the brilliant Based On A True Story, was released on their own label The Drop and independently distributed. It has been a massive success both in their antipodean homeland and now abroad thanks partly to some big props from names like Gilles Peterson. The heart of their sound is reggae, from ska through to dub, to which they add their own flavour of dance floor beats.
With the huge success of their last few trips to Sydney, and with this concert selling out nearly a month in advance, there’s an electric vibe in The Metro as local outfits The Firehouse Crew and Kingtide lay down some classic covers and originals of their trademark Jamaican sounds, with Kingtide’s front-man Tony Hughes vibrant in his polyester suit.
The FFD formula is simple: Producer DJ Fitchie layers the beats and bass lines, while their impressive horn section, tonight led by Ho Pepa on Trombone in a vibrant green hat and suit, add their harmonious textures. Then keyboard scientist Dobie Blaze adds his slice of funk and Jetlag Johnson his old school reggae guitar skank. Finally the real soul is added with Joe Dukie’s velvet voice.FFD come on a little after 11.30pm to a deafening roar, opening with Runnin’ from their 2001 debut Live at the Matterhorn. The FFD live experience is always different, and tonight we’re treated to something special, with the outfit again re-working their studio tracks live into a soulful journey across the dub spectrum. Vocalist Joe Dukie even lays an improvised Sweet Dreams vocal over the top of This Room, and Wandering Eye is turned into a bouncing, skanking, dance floor monster.
A few new tracks are played and are a definite teaser for a much anticipated new album due later in the year. The night flies on with no real sense of time when you’re so engaged in the vibe and beats. Before I know it the band are off and once again the Sydney crowd nearly brings the roof down before The Drop return for an encore, playing B.O.A.T.S opening track Ernie and almost everyone in the venue singing along, testament to the dedication of FFD fans.
I leave the venue on a high, complete with quality Huffer souvenir t-shirt knowing that, like everyone else here tonight I’ll be back when they return.