The Fratellis, Manchester Academy 2, 23/03/18
A week on from the release of their fifth studio album ‘In Your Own Sweet Time’ (which you can read our review of here), Scottish indie rock band The Fratellis made their return to Manchester Academy for a stop on their UK tour. For this tour, The Fratellis are joined by Candian hard rock band Black Pistol Fire, who are definitely worth getting to the venue an hour early to catch.
The venue was packed out from the very beginning of Black Pistol Fire’s insane 45 minute set. What Black Pistol Fire lacked in numbers — being a duo — they made up for with absolutely huge sound. Frontman Kevin McKeown demonstrated not only his blistering guitar chops, but an amount of fuzzy guitar that’d make Jack White in his heyday say “calm down, buddy”. Drummer Eric Owen beat his kit to such a degree that cymbal stands began to collapse and his kick drum probably registered on the Richter scale. Combine these qualities with incredibly catchy Southern rock-inspired tunes, a shit-kicking rendition of Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Oh Well’, and a stage show which at one point saw McKeown ripping a guitar solo in the middle of the audience and you have yourself an incredibly worthy (and sweaty) opening act.
After the 30 minute intermission, the audience was greeted by the familiar sound of Jacques Offenbach’s ‘Infernal Galop’ (or ‘Can-can music’, depending on your outlook on life and classical music) and the roof blew off the place; enter The Fratellis. The band kicked off their set with their 2015 single ‘Baby Don’t You Lie To Me’ and from the get-go were noticeably on top form, can you expect any less from a band that are currently sitting at number five in the UK’s Official Albums Chart? The Fratellis’ good mood translated superbly to the night’s setlist and we saw genuine and sincere performances of songs new and old, which was particularly refreshing after witnessing their somewhat demotivated performance on 2016’s ‘Costello Music’ tour. There were a great ratio of new songs to old songs, with six of the best songs from ‘In Your Own Sweet Time’ making appearances throughout the set in ‘Starcrossed Losers’, ‘Laughing Gas’, ‘Sugartown’, ‘I’ve Been Blind’, ‘Stand Up Tragedy’ and ‘Told You So’. The rest of the set was made up of older hits from ‘Costello Music’, ‘We Need Medicine’ and ‘Eyes Wide, Tongue Tied’ with their 2008 second studio album ‘Here We Stand’ again being heinously underrepresented with only ‘A Heady Tale’ making an appearance. It’s sometimes thought that a band are only as good as the crowd they’re playing for, and if that’s the case then it’s no wonder The Fratellis were on such top form. The incredibly packed crowd were constantly moving and grooving and jumping and bumping from the opening song to the closing cover of Dion’s ‘Runaround Sue’. Two other highlights from the night include the nowadays rare performance of ‘Creepin’ Up The Backstairs’ and the always stellar performance of ‘Chelsea Dagger’.
If you can catch The Fratellis and Black Pistol Fire on tour this March, do it! You’ll see an incredibly great show which is well worth your evening.
Check out the band’s upcoming tour dates below