Monday, November 11, 2013

Show review: The Fratellis at Metro, 11/6/13

By Gene Wagendorf III  

Glasgow rockers The Fratellis returned to Chicago for the first time since their 4 year hiatus Wednesday night, armed with a new album's worth of songs and welcomed by a crowd that treated the Scots like hometown heroes. The near cult-status that the group's 2006 release Costello Music has achieved stateside means large crowds are turning out across this U.S. tour, but the energy at Metro was crackling with an added boost of Blackhawks frenzy. For those unfamiliar, the 2013 Stanley Cup champions have been using Fratellis' "Chelsea Dagger" as a goal song and anthem throughout their recent resurgence, making it a song that most Chicagoans at least know by its infectious chorus.

Singer/guitarist Jon Fratelli is the kind of natural born rockstar that throws people into euphoric fits; he oozes  a compelling combination of nonchalant cool and fluent sexuality. It's a dynamic filter to run the band's slapstick riffs and exuberant melodies through. On "Cuntry Boys and City Girls" the frontman's vocals playfully surfed stuttered chords and chopped percussion  before exploding into the tune's rapid fire chorus. New track "Whiskey Saga" followed up with some delirious piano work that twirled around the guitar's candied barroom chug. It was the first indication that The Fratellis really have followed through on their pact to "pick up where they left off" in 2009, embellishing a typical indie rock sound with a willingness to steal tricks from other genres. Costello Music track "Vince the Loveable Stoner" rolled out on a haystack beat and square-dance friendly melody before shifting into big, crunchy garage pop. Other songs found the band la-la-ing through pop punk jams or lifting old ska riffs and infusing them with layers of fuzz. The common thread through each was the eventual arrival of a big, sing-along friendly rock 'n' roll chorus.

The Fratellis' performance of "Whistle for the Choir" was probably their most magnetic of the show. Drummer Mince Fratelli eased up for the fist time all night, settling into a subdued giddy-up. Bassist Barry Fratelli laid out an ambling line that Jon's husky croon fluttered around. The tune swelled on rippling guitars and expertly executed harmonies; an impossibly feel-good crescendo that, while not necessarily more spectacular than the rowdy ecstasy in their other songs, stood out against the rest of the night. The group ripped through another ten or so tracks before exiting to manic applause, a reaction partially brought on by a great performance and part fueled by the the anticipation of a "Chelsea Dagger" encore. When the band reappeared donning Hawks jerseys, the decibel reading inside Metro was probably close to that of The Madhouse during the national anthem.

Before the big release, The Fratellis surprised the crowd with a rockabilly romp through Dion's 1961 hit "Run Around Sue." It was a perfect song for the Glasgow boys to cover- filled with hey's and shouting and chanting, just like they like it. A bit of post-song drum splashing from Mince led the group right into the stadium clap and elastic bass into of "Chelsea Dagger," a song turned celebration complete with 1,100 backup singers. Hockey fan or not, there isn't any denying the ridiculous bubblegum catchiness of "Dagger," nor is there any denying how damn good it felt to hear it live. The tune is a lesson is building excitement, loaded with plenty of breakdowns and electric pauses that burst into beer-soaked jubilation. It also served as the final exclamation point on a night that made clear the fact that The Fratellis haven't lost a thing coming off their hiatus. The new was as good as the old, and the old still sounds fucking marvelous.

If you enjoyed this, like us on Facebook and follow Gene on Twitter

No comments:

Post a Comment