Reviewed onFriday February 26
Fire, or more accurately, “Fiyahhh”, was a precursor for the evening Fat Freddy’s Drop had in store for their Sydney show, as the heat permeated the Hordern Pavilion aurally, lyrically and physically throughout the night. With a capacity crowd and inescapably sticky, humid air, few punters left the venue after more than two hours of non-stop grooving without experiencing the sweet relief of hitting the cool air outside. That’s not to say that anyone wanted things to end.
Expecting anything less than a brilliant performance and instrumentation at a Fat Freddy’s Drop show is like getting annoyed at enthusiastic dancing at said show; it just doesn’t suit the territory. Everything was in full swing off the bat, with a luxurious extended cut of ‘Blackbird’ and the first of many solid trombone solos garnering massive cheers from the crowd – so much so that it seemed the masses were too busy dancing to get their lighters up and swing their arms with lead singer Joe Dukie when they slowed things down.
Moving smoothly across their 15-year-plus repertoire, and just as many genres, Fat Freddy’s always had control of the pace and focus, with the gritty guitar on ‘Razor’ a nice splice through the bass. The group’s concentration on execution, delivery and spontaneity meant that everyone onstage had their time to really illustrate their talent; from MC Slave’s killer spitting to Chopper Reedz’s exceptional harmonica skills and the ear-melting collective brass of Tony Chang, Hopepa and Reedz. It all filled the room joyously.
When even the sound guy can hardly contain his moves and the audience literally roars, unprovoked, several times, there’s no question that what’s being delivered is something special. Indulgence was the lifeblood of this performance, but it was hardly out of self-importance.
By the time it came to wrap things up, there was a mash-up of tracks from first album Based On A True Story, including ‘This Room’ and a down-tempo ‘Wandering Eye’ – just as popular and fresh after almost 11 years. It was a surprise it took this long for Fat Freddy’s Drop to play the Hordern; they could easily fill stadiums with their gooey melodies and full-body experiences.