By Jake Ebdale
Artist: Fat Freddy's Drop
Date / Venue: Friday 13th September, The Powerstation, Auckland
Fat Freddy's Drop have slowly but solidly worked their way up to the very top of the Kiwi music dogpile as of 2013. It doesn't get much better than a Drop show as part of a full blown album release tour - you see, an ‘album release' is a rare event with the eight piece, and when they eventually get round to doing it, Freds play like they've got something to prove. I went to the first Auckland show at the Powerstation to witness this in full effect.
Unsurprisingly, the setlist was comprised of ‘Blackbird' material with a couple oldies thrown in. A blistering‘Russia' made a great first impression, with MC Slave featuring heavily. Along with brass booty shaker Joe Lindsay, Slave is a fan favourite, riling up the crowd as a charismatic hypeman. (Also, does anyone remember the Mo' Show? Classic) What I loved about this show is that Freds haven't kept it simple, instead stretching the new stuff out into a long, hard groove - it was like early 90s house getting down with a soul mistress.‘Soldier' was my favourite song of the night, as it morphed from slow, sultry Al Green to a pulsing, bubbling dub volcano.
Out of the older, more widely known pieces, ‘Roady' was on fire, going through reggae, samba, hip hop - man, it always kills. It heats up the crowd, just a feel good bit ‘a skank. ‘Shiverman' hasn't really changed since they pulled it out over five years ago, but it's an absolute crowd devastator. A build up of over ten minutes, then a heavenly assault of horns, bass and "chea's" from the master in front Joe Dukie. I was absolutely buggered at the end of it all. With an average of ten songs per show, it went for over two hours. Encore ‘The Raft' was just plain generous.
All in all, a great start to the weekend and another successful Drop show. Importantly, I want to point out that FFD are so universally loved that you won't have a hard time getting a big crew of mates to come along. A lot of mine come from different backgrounds, they're into other styles of music, but we all have the Drop in common. Seeing eight of us shake our shiver man loose is a testament to their appeal. I feel sorry for you if you didn't make it - luckily, they're on tour this summer around NZ. Fly, Blackbird, fly.