It is of general agreement that Fat Freddy's Drop's unique blend of reggae, soul, jazz and hip hop works best live. Their discography testifies this, as with this new release, the New Zealandish combo has now put out as many live albums as studio ones (two of each, that is).
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.
I held off buying this CD as I am not traditionally a fan of live gig recordings. This was foolish as it is fantastic, it captures the energy of FFD's live shows perfectly.
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.
Always wanted to catch this band live & still not managed to do so! So this live recording from the 2008 tour has plugged that gap, makes you want to be in the crowd. An outstanding set but the final track (Shiverman) is worth the price of the CD alone - "Shake that Shiverman loose". Oh Yeah!