The Fratellis @ the Barrowland Ballroom
To celebrate the release of their new album, In Your Own Sweet Time, the Fratellis embarked on a short UK tour, culminating in a sold-out show at the Barrowlands on 31 March.
High on anticipation, there was a great buzz upon entering the Barrowlands to enjoy this album live, and hoping to hear a few of the older, creative nuggets that the band produced. As the band opened with Henrietta, the opening track from Costello Music, the crowd erupted. This iconic first album catapulted the Fratellis to stardom, although arguably albums since have failed to deliver on the potential that this album promised. In Your Own Sweet Time takes a step away from previous albums, bringing a new sound to the band’s music while providing a smooth, pleasant and easy listen. Although lacking the panache, speed and lyrical creativity that Costello Music and Here We Stand offered, the switch to a slower, more polished and elegant style works for the band, and suits better than the previous two albums, We Need Medicine and Eyes Wide,Tongue Tied.
The crowd were full of energy to open the set, but it was evident there was an issue. Jon, the lead singer and guitarist, was almost inaudible between songs and struggled to sing through the whole of the songs. He announced that the band had been having vocal issues, and that they would require the assistance of the crowd to get through the set. Soldiering on, they continued with more recent songs, like the catchy Starcrossed Losers and Sugartown, both from the new album, and both transferred well into a live performance, despite the vocal issues. They peppered the set with songs from Costello Music, throwing in much loved tracks like Vince the Loveable Stoner.
At times, it felt as though the band were building up to something, and the audience was left waiting. The crowd rose and fell between the songs that they knew, and the more recent songs where the words remained relatively unknown. This was less than ideal, with Jon relying heavily on the audience to sing the words and hit the notes that he was physically unable to reach on the night.
The band seemed to grow into the set, but it perhaps came too little too late. Creepin’ Up the Backstairs marked a change in the set, to a more energetic and punchy performance, however the band only played three more songs before taking their leave of the stage, to return for the encore. Of course, no performance by the Fratellis would be complete without Chelsea Dagger, which the Glasgow crowd soaked up. However, anticlimactically, they chose to finish on a cover of Runaround Sue, rather than their most loved and revered track.
Perhaps, had the band been at 100% the performance would have been far more enjoyable, but having made the decision to perform despite the vocal issues, it seemed that the performance needed that extra gear throughout that the band could only seem to find near the end. On another night, this could have been a truly special performance.