The Fratellis and Blood Red Shoes at the Commodore Ballroom 4/26/18
It was a full house at The Commodore Thursday night as The Fratellis kicked off their North American tour in support of their latest release, In Your Own Time. Hailing from Scotland, the alternative blues rock trio that is best known for their mid-2000’s hit “Chelsea Dagger,” brought fellow UK rock act Blood Red Shoes on as a supporting act.
The floor of the renowned ballroom was looking quite sparse with roughly 100 fans crowded at the front as the duo of Laura-Mary Carter and Steven Ansell, out of Brighton, strolled onto the stage. Ansell took a seat behind his drum kit that was stationed at the front of the stage facing sideways, giving the crowd a clear view of his every move. Carter picked up her guitar and the two plowed into their first song of the night, “The Perfect Mess,” the lead single off their 2014 release. The song provided a crashing start to the evening and had the duo sharing vocal duties back and forth over the pounding beat.
It didn’t take long for the floor to start filling up as the duo continued the set with their aggressive 2010 single, “Light It Up,” followed by the moody rocker, “An Animal.” The pair kept their foot on the gas with one banger after another, showing off great chemistry and a flawless performance on each song. Ansell dominated over the drums with true professionalism, every crash, hi-hat splash, and snare hit resonating throughout the room. By the time they reached their final song, “Colours Fade” off their 2010 release, the floor crowd had at least tripled in size. While most attendees were unfamiliar with the UK duo, there’s no doubt Blood Red Shoes left Vancouver with some new fans.
The floor continued to fill during the 40-minute break and the ballroom was packed when the lights went down again. The trio of Jon, Barry, and Mince Fratelli graced the stage along with keyboardist Will Foster. Wearing one of his signature top hats, Jon Fratelli greeted the excited audience before busting into “Stand Up Tragedy,” the opening track from their album released earlier this year. Fans there to hear their early work (which seemed to be the majority) would be kept satisfied as the band littered the set list with first-album hits, starting with the rambunctious “Flathead” that loosened the crowd up.
The charisma from Jon Fratelli that shines through on their studio tracks felt like it was slightly lacking during the set. Having just flown from the UK, the 39-year-old frontman seemed a little tired, and nine songs into the set, he commented, “So my jet lag just kicked in,” before moving on to their next tune. This marked the only time Jon would say anything to the crowd aside from the odd, “Thanks Vancouver.” Rather than small talk with the crowd, the band moved from one song to the next, filling up the hour-and-a-half set with an impressive 23 songs.
Hits from their 2015 release, “Baby Don’t You Lie To Me!” and “Imposters (Little By Little),” made early showings in the set and they pulled a couple off their 2013 album near the end. They almost entirely ignored their second album, 2008’s Here We Stand, aside from the single, “A Heady Tale,” that they squeezed in at the end of their pre-encore set. The rest of their performance was composed of six newbies and ten tracks from their debut album released almost twelve years ago. This seemed like a calculated move on the band’s part as the crowd was noticeably more engaged during the old stuff.
The Fratellis made their mark on the scene with their debut album and they seem to be a band that’s never quite been able to reach that level of popularity since. Though a very talented set of musicians, no album has made near the impact as their first, and it’s not unfair to say that most of the attendees last night probably hadn’t even listened to their work in the past ten years. Thirteen years into their career, The Fratellis seem to be forever stuck in the past.
Stand Up Tragedy
Baby Don’t You Lie To Me!
Star Crossed Losers
Imposters (Little By Little)
Whistle for the Choir
For The Girl
I’ve Been Blind
Everybody Knows You Cried Last Night
Ole Black ‘n’ Blue Eyes
Creepin’ Up the Backstairs
She’s Not Gone Yet But She’s Leaving
We Need Medicine
A Heady Tale
Told You So
Cuntry Boys & City Girls
Runaround Sue (Dion Cover)