[Live] Fat Freddy’s Drop

GRAPHIC: Fat Freddy’s Drop, Otis Frizzell
Sydney Opera House
10 November 2012

It began with giant silhouettes of birds overshadowing the Sydney Opera House stage. Smoke and green koru designs filled the space, as the overwhelming sound of conch shells welcomed Fat Freddy’s Drop in traditional New Zealand style, amplifying the tension of an already over-excited audience.

There was about two minutes of audience awkwardness during the first song – until vocalist Dallas Tamaira jumped in the air and set off a spring-loaded reaction: the entire audience lost their shit at the very same time, and no one was left in their seats. Their new single ‘Silver and Gold’ had just been released online hours before the performance, but I didn’t want to spoil the surprise. Playing a number of tracks from their forthcoming album Blackbird, its awesome to hear that the Fat Freddy’s Drop winning formula is still going strong.

Live, the Wellington band create an energetic sound that completely contrasts the easy-listening albums that I have spent so many lazy sunny days listening to. Trombonist Joe Lindsay embodies this powerful performance with his tidy white suit, jumping around the stage like a human whirlwind.

Three large panels above the band showcased New Zealand street artist Otis Frizzell’s latest works, created specially for the occasion, as illustrations for the album. To the sound of a melodica solo, the middle panel slowly lifted up to reveal a massive canvas on a stage above the band. A small figure jumped onto the platform and immediately started painting massive lines of black as the band began their final song. Distracted, the audience eagerly tried to work out what it was that Frizzell was drawing. Listening back to the song would have given you the clues though, as giant blackbirds began to take form on the canvas.

Back onstage for an encore, Fat Freddy’s took it one step further with a loose version of ‘Shiverman’. Dallas stood like a conductor, adding layers of loops from individual members as the audience danced, in denial that the set was nearly over.

Being a Kiwi myself, witnessing the creations of two iconic NZ artists filled that little hole of homesickness that had been building up. Fat Freddy’s Drop capture some of the best qualities about New Zealand, as with the assistance of Otis Frizzell they took us on an audio-visual journey from the bottom of the sea to the treetops with the blackbirds.

Tanydd Jaquet
Originally published at thebrag.com

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