Following the low key release of fourth album Eyes Wide Tongue Tied, the Fratellis’ low key tour reached Manchester on Monday night. Playing to a sold out Academy 2, the Scottish three-piece played a mix of new and old material in front of a small, but devoted crowd.
Starting in an odd fashion, in a venue that resembled a school hall, the band entered to the ‘Can-Can’ music, before they flew straight into an energetic run of ‘Baby Don’t You Lie To Me!’, ‘Henrietta’, ‘Seven Nights Seven Days’ and ‘Flathead’. Although material from recent albums had the crowd going, the energy of the Manchester crowd definitely increased during songs from first album, Costello Music.
The popularity of the trio’s early catalogue was evident throughout, with laid back fan-favourite ‘Whistle For the Choir’ enjoying the rousing rendition that the song deserves, despite stetson-wearing frontman Jon Fratelli starting from the second verse. The frontman treated everyone present, young and old, to impressive guitar solos including ‘Everybody Knows You Cried Last Night’ and ‘Got My Nuts From a Hippie’.
The talent of the Fratellis was obvious, from consistently catchy indie tunes, to seemingly endless energy from drummer Mince Fratelli. It’s also a credit to the band that new material like ‘Me and the Devil’ and ‘Desperate Guy’ were received well, even if hits from before their 2009 split were the reason that most of the 900 Mancunians had braved the weather.
Any dips in energy between old and new material disappeared as the band approached their encore. If one song can keep a band going, then the Fratelli’s ‘Chelsea Dagger’ is a prime example. It’s a classic that’s played at many a club night, and when it arrived, Manchester was bouncing. The song was a perfect end to the night that was finished off by a cover of 60’s classic ‘Runaround Sue’.
It’s a shame that popular tracks like ‘Ole Black ‘n’ Blue Eyes’, ‘Acid Jazz Singer’, or ‘Mistress Mabel’ were missing from the setlist. However, on a tour for the band’s latest album, it’s understandable that these songs missed out in favour of more recent material.
You get the impression that performing is effortless to the Fratellis. However, sometimes effort is appreciated, especially from a band that appear so thankful to their hard-core following. There was little audience interaction, and no sing-a-longs despite a catalogue of songs that lend themselves to exactly that.
The venue didn’t lend itself to a great atmosphere, and the new material was hit and miss, but the Fratellis certainly entertained Manchester with their trip down memory lane, that reminded fans of ten years of catchy choruses and Scottish indie hits.
This review was originally published on Forge Fuse: Live Review: The Fratellis 16/11/15