For lead singer John Lawler, or Jon Fratelli as he’s popularly known, there must be at least a slight taste of bittersweetness to the revival of the band which literally made his name.
The Fratellis - Barrowlands, Glasgow
Rating: * * *
Since they initially separated in 2009, he found he couldn’t get arrested with solo projects as one half of Codeine Velvet Club and then as Jon Fratelli. Yet now the old band are finally back together, they’re filling the Barrowlands and venues across the country with fans eagerly waiting to yell the words of their biggest hits back at them.
Some sense of where a trio who once had enduring success at their feet believe they went wrong might have been gleaned from the two-dozen song setlist here. Their hugely successful 2006 debut album was represented in full, although not in order, with even many of its lesser tracks – the riotous Creepin’ Up the Backstairs, the vaguely psych-rock Got Ma Nuts From a Hippy, Baby Fratelli’s lairy glam – greeted by a loud choral harmony from the audience and much frantic writhing amidst the moshpit.
On the other hand, only four tracks (less than a third) of the critically and commercially underwhelming follow-up Here We Stand appeared, and these included the segments which disrupted the now-quartet’s Faces-gone-punk-pop aesthetic most favourably – the delicate, Ben Folds-style piano waltz of Milk and Money or the expansive and unhurried closer A Heady Tale.
Of course there will always be a large section of their audience who attend just to go wild to Chelsea Dagger or Whistle For the Choir, and even as new songs like Seven Nights, Seven Days seemed to promote a desire to get back to their roots, a bit more trimming of the setlist might have brought more of this winning immediacy to the show.