If any particular musical genre can personify summer best, the jazzy dub and reggae of Fat Freddy’s Drop undoubtedly makes a top choice after the band’s show at Vega’s Musikens Hus last Saturday. The audience was certainly treated to a display worthy of any good Summerjam festival, even in the packed concert hall of the Store Vega.
The Wellington-based band, trading a newer, more exotic Zealand for its older, northern counterpart, landed tune after tune to a conquered and enthusiastic audience.
The 7 member line-up, combining the brass – trombone, trumpet and saxophone, typical of the genre – along with a synthesiser, electronic keyboards and pre-recorded percussions on a sampler, offered an eclectic display, while still remaining true to its origins as a jam session and improvisation band.
Returning fans were treated to the bands’ most memorable hits dating to the group’s earliest and most acclaimed albums such as “Live at The Matterhorn” (2001) and “Based on a True Story” (2009). Group tunes like “Hope” and “Silver and Gold” – which was performed for the first time in the group’s appearance in Copenhagen last year – were undoubtedly the biggest crow pleasers.
But a great deal of the show was used to unveil the band’s upcoming studio album, set for release in 2013. These new songs carry a heavier electronic touch with further use of the synthesiser, parting ways with the band’s former instrumental habits and making the live performance somewhat livelier than simple dub or reggae could have done.
The crowd enjoyed the mutation. In the standing rows, people danced intensely at times while bathing in a smoke-filled room reeking of hash and cannabis. In the higher floors, where a slightly older crowd sat watching the performance from above, people stood infected by the good mood of their fellow spectators, dancing, shouting, and stomping on the floors and chairs each time a song came to an end.
Fat Freddy’s Drop proved versatile, alternating these fresh out-of-the-oven electro beats with smoother, slower, jazzy dub-ish sequences, swaying the crowd into a relaxation-induced trance.
Singer and front man Dallas Tamaira – a.k.a Joe Dukie – was on top of his art, supplying compelling vocals which, combined with powerful lyrics, caused riots amidst a roaring audience. Showmanship was also the trademark of unchained trombonist Joe Lindsay, whose cheerful gimmicks, dancing and passionate handling of his instrument brought him several ovations.
Each band member enjoyed his own moment in the spotlight, with crowd favourites including a 90 seconds screamer of a guitar solo and a much applauded saxophonist on the loose.
It took the band no less than two encores and several flattering goodbye speeches to bid the crowd adieu, leaving each one of them with an unexpected taste of summer, perfectly appropriate for the weekend’s heat wave.