Live At Roundhouse
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Not only have a thousand subgenres – witch house, anybody? – normally come and gone in the time it takes Fat Freddy’s Drop to finish one track, but the New Zealand group’s entire modus operandi seems out of kilter with the modern world. In an age in which ever more music is created from files swapped across the internet by people who’ve never met, the crucible of Fat Freddy’s music remains live performance. Instead of using their gigs as testing grounds for what they’re working on in the studio, their albums act more as condensed versions of the epic jams they play live, where the seven-strong core collective lock onto grooves for often 15 minutes or more.
Live at Roundhouse London not only captures Fat Freddy’s in their natural element, but also features tracks from 2009’s Dr. Boondigga and The Big BW LP in embryonic form. Except that “embryonic” gives completely the wrong impression, since these tracks are much bigger and fully-fleshed than their recorded incarnations. Recorded at the titular London venue in 2008, the crowd on that December evening wasn’t treated to recognisable favourites from 2005’s word-of-mouth success Based on a True Story album but – with the exception of Flashback – nearly 90 minutes of entirely new material.
They’re an act that’s either incredibly indulgent or incredibly brave – only managing to get through six tracks, it’s vital that each one has that instantly identifiable Fat Freddy’s vibe their fans adore them for, so that even the brand new can be greeted like an old friend. That’s not to say that everything sounds the same, but few bands have created a sound so uniquely theirs whilst keeping it so open for manoeuvre. So The Camel and The Raft find them steering through funk, jazz and soul whilst Pull the Catch and Shiverman take detours into drum’n’bass and house respectively, but are always steered by DJ Fitchie’s dub beats and Joe Dukie’s soulful vocals.
Trying to capture the atmosphere of a Fat Freddy’s Drop gig on record is ultimately futile, but if you’ve never been to one yourself this offers a good insight into what makes them so fertile.--Paul Clarke
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Top Customer Reviews
What makes "Live At Roundhouse London" so special, is that while appearing a year after the much successful "Dr Boondigga & The Big BW", it actually does not document their subsequent tour, but the one before, when their new songs were not fully formed and had yet to be tested live before they were to put final touches to their studio versions.
Recorded in December 2008, at their final european date at the time, it showcases (with the notable exception of "Flashback", from their critically acclaimed debut, "Based On A True Story") only new tracks that were unknown from their audience at the time. In pure FFD tradition, the soon-to-become classics "The Camel", "The Nod" or "Pull The Catch" are given the epic jam treatment, turning to lengthy renditions (13 minutes being the average running time of these), which only goes to emphasise the spaced-out, dub-inflected aspects of their material. It has to be noted, too, that the most radically different take comes from the final "Shiverman", whose relatively underrated club spine on record is taken to a trance-like vibe that is quite unusual from Wellington's downbeat best.
So, including only 6 cuts but clocking in just under the technical 80 minutes' limit of the standard CD, you could guess that it would be quite fair to bet this is Fat Freddy's Drop's most representative output. And you'd be right so.
Fantastic atmosphere, clear recording and superb music.
Play it loud from a CD & use big speakers, and a powerful amplifier. NOT an iPod !
It showcases the electric atmosphere that this band can create, incorporating a mix of Dr Boondigga songs and Based on a True Story tracks, and in true fashion expands on the songs by giving a slightly different feel to them.
The actual recording quality itself is perfect and far surpasses the quality experienced on Live at the Matterhorn, FFD's other live recording CD. The audience ambience is not too overpowering and Dukie's vocals, as ever, are faultless.
I always think you can tell the quality of a band by how well they perform live, in my eyes this demonstrates the amazing music quality of Fat Freddy's Drop.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Brilliant. Saw them at WOMAD and bought this when we got back to remind us of an excellent set.Published 22 months ago by Amazon Customer
Love this album and also bought based on a true story. Very dub album with a voice that could melt you.Published on 29 Dec. 2013 by Angel74