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Review: Fat Freddy’s Drop – Brixton Academy, London – 18/06/11

We reviewed the recent Fat Freddy’s show in London. check out what we thought here..

Band: Fat Freddy’s Drop
Venue: Brixton Academy
Date: 18th June 2011

Hailing from the cultural capital of New Zealand, Fat Freddy’s Drop is one of the most influential bands shaping the current NZ music scene. Their sound is predominantly reggae soul with a blues edge, hints of jazz and dub undertones. In other words, they’re hard to define. Their fresh diversity married with boundless musical ability is a combination worthy of great kudos. In my eyes, the UK is screaming out for a band like FFD, which might be why they’ve gained a raging mass of followers with very little publicity. I’ve been keen to see them for a long time, especially after interviewing the saxophonic wizard that is Choppa Reedz, back in 2010. As part of their 2011 World Tour FFD dropped off at Brixton Academy to give a nod to their British contingent fan base.

The atmosphere of Brixton Academy was pumping. Fat Freddy’s were supported by the epically enthused UK based reggae dubbers Resonators who were the perfect prelude in terms of style and energy. Their set, full of cruisy melodic sequences, layered with rhythm and big jumps, geared the crowd up creating a buzzing environment as we all awaited the musically endowed Kiwi kings. I have to say that at this point I was going slightly wild at the thought of seeing the glorious beacon of beauty that is Joe Dukie, with his entourage of rhythm and horns.

They entered the stage to heavy rapture from the crowd. Their set opened with Midnight Marauders, a mystical and atmospheric whirlwind of sound. There’s something about the aura of Fat Freddy’s that just transfixes all who listen. FFD classics were featured in the mix, including Cay’s Crays, Roady and Boondigga. They also performed some of their new tracks. This unreleased material stayed within the realms of their current eclectic style, but new elements were injected, delving deeper into soul and funk – getting hard on the beats with bari sax and bass. At this point I have to mention Chopper as he never disappoints, effortlessly swapping saxes between songs like a melodic chameleon. His bari skills are incredible and added a lot of richness to the songs performed. The set boldly vibed out in acid jazz territory, battled in blues and funk, shook with electronic elements and even tampered with the unparalleled, notably one fast, raw guitar sequence almost bordering on something you’d hear by The Smiths. This breadth of style kept people hooked throughout. The band have a real connection, making each sequence so collectively tight that each track makes a sharp bombardment. The ability to be effortless but simultaneously powerful puts everyone in a state of awe and this was evident looking into the crowd at Brixton Academy. Respect.

Reviewer: Jen Jaconelli

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