Fat Freddy’s Drop, Manchester Academy

Resembling more of a club night than a gig, by 9pm the Kiwi septet had reduced most of the crowd into a sweaty, surging mass.

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Date: 15 Nov 2008 | By Martin Guttridge-Hewitt | Rating: 4
Fat Freddy’s Drop, Manchester Academy

Fresh from a 12-month spell in their beach-side studio, New Zealand's biggest non-alcoholic export touched down for their second UK date in the Big BW Tour. Resembling more of a club night than a gig, by 9pm the Kiwi septet had reduced most of the crowd into a sweaty, surging mass, with most in the first ten rows shaking like geriatrics from the bass. Not bad for 15 minutes into the set.

They say no two Fat Freddy's Drop shows are the same, and any virgins should take little time to figure out why. Less of a gig in the traditional "here's some tunes from the new album and a few favourites" mould, the two hours or so played out more like a jam, albeit a very tight example.

A marked difference from previous, notably more intimate outings in the city, there were more definite West Coast House flavours infused in the dubby brew. These four to the floor elements blended smoothly alongside the more stereotypical jazz, world and dub vibes. The result was an intelligently crafted amalgamation of music that could sound at home on a range of audio systems in an even bigger cross section of homes.

After each ten minutes or so of solid groove the crowd's reaction was enough to blow the roof off many a venue, and undoubtedly confirmed the party-starting status of the band. Musically further reaching than many of their peers, one of the most amazing factors of the night was the ability for a dub-reggae group to fill a venue of this size.

If the matted haircuts and ruffled clothes of the hoards released onto the South Manchester streets were anything to go by, it's easy to believe that such success will not be short-lived.