A chance look at the Birmingham Academy gig listings yesterday afternoon showed that the sold out Fratellis gig last night I’d forgotten about was no longer sold out…
It’s been a while since I’ve been to two gigs in as many days and the Fratellis had a lot to live up to (have a look at my previous post). So what was it like?
I’ve come away a little disappointed. I certainly wouldn’t call the Fratellis one of my favourite artists (as I would Portishead), neither would I have said that they were bad but they simply lacked the quality songs I was expecting. The new album sounds disappointing as did some of the tracks from their debut. Moreover, they didn’t sound better live: I would have got more listening to the record at the pub.
I should also say something about the crowd: there were plenty of people at the Academy who wouldn’t look out of place at a football match and some of the crowd singing wasn’t much better. And that sums up the band all to well: some good singles but they’ll need to release a lot of material before they’ve got a really good live set, yet they seem to attract a huge following that I believe is a little undeserved.
Going back to Sunday, the crowd couldn’t have been much different. Under 30s were definitely in the minority and there were plenty of older hippy people watching Portishead: not that there weren’t any older people at the Fratellis, but there was the usual mix of fashionistas and people who wouldn’t look out of place in Skins, a demographic in the minority on Sunday.
Perhaps I’m just getting old but I’m able to reinforce my opinion that most bands that have launched careers in the last few years simply aren’t as good yet are able to gain huge followings. Admittedly being in the mosh pit for Chelsea Dagger was special but the final 4 minutes didn’t make up for what was a rather disappointing gig.
As for Portishead on Sunday…. well I can’t decide whether it is the best live performance I’ve seen but it’s certainly up there.
The crowd reaction was also rather telling… after every Portishead track, it felt as though the band were being given a standing ovation just for being there (not surprising being their first your in eleven years). And last night? Far more screaming but the applause didn’t last as long. More notable was the number of people at the back who thought that talking through the entire set was fine, which really annoys me: surely the point of seeing live music is to actually listen to it?
Which also brings me back to Sunday: Portishead have a very different sound so this comparisson is a little unfair but during one of their quieter songs people weren’t afraid to show their distaste at people talking… made me feel like I was back in school as a five year old!
So was it worth it? I suppose it was, especially for something so last minute (I bought my tickets at 4pm with the doors opening just 3 hours later) but only for the one time and I doubt I’l bother seeing the Fratellis live again, an opinion I hadn’t expected to reach.
All of this makes me wonder whether it’s worth seeing other newer bands like the Kooks, the Klaxons… from past experiences of Razorlight and the Killers, both are far better on record than they are live and I can now include the Fratellis in the same group. Something tells me that my mass/mainstream gig days are somewhat numbered…