FAT FREDDYS DROP – LIVE @ WESTERN SPRINGS, AUCKLAND 2020
It had been a while since I had seen Fat Freddy’s play, even more years had passed since witnessing their phenomenal clean-up at the 2005 Vodafone Music Awards with their eponymous debut album Based on a True Story. It has seen the popular Kiwi Dub/Reggae Band slay it not only here in Aotearoa, but overseas. It seems they also just can’t get enough of our ‘slice of heaven’.
WORDS BY WAL REID
Fat Freddy’s unique blend of reggae, soul and bass-heavy beats is the fabric to this country’s musical DNA. New Zealand is obsessed with it even. So with one of the warmest weekends on record this year, it made sense to take a picnic and a fave tipple and head down to Auckland’s Western Springs to savour NZ’s favourite artists, all at the invite of the talented Wellington-birthed ensemble.
It all added to the day’s festive mood, with revellers treated to a swag of New Zealand’s finest musicians and international DJs to spark up their summer vibe. These included David “Jam Ram” Rodigan as well as the sublime L.A.B., Avondale Bowling Club, JessB, Bailey Wiley, Chaii & Silva MC. Too many if any, to counterclaim Scribe’s sacred hit song. A musical smorgasbord of local talent on fare to ‘wow’ audiences was a good call and an added bonus.
Blackbird kicked off proceedings, as the crowd hypnotically swayed under the smoky haze. Families, couples & groups were pretty much malleable after the warm-up acts. A string of FFD hits followed in succession, Slings and Arrows, the unforgettable groove intro of Kamo Kamo, as vocalist Dallas Taimara broke into soulful wisp on Silver and Gold. The audience resembled a sea of bobblehead dolls, craniums dipping and bobbing in unison, it felt appropriate in the dusk-faded light in the stadium.
The seven-piece band, including director/musical mastermind Mu (real name, Chris Faiumu aka DJ Fitchie) and singer Dallas Tamaira also known under his personal sobriquet Joe Dukie, were grooving hard on stage. The woodwind section, including the very animated trombonist Joe Lindsay were carving out their carve, robotic in the sense they were running like a well-oiled machine, their visuals thrown up on the giant screens to the packed burgeoning Auckland crowd.
MC Slave ( From MC OJ & Rhythm Slave) was grabbed onto the stage as he manically jumped around on Special Edition & Raleigh Twenty including a near-mint condition of the iconic 70’s kids bike on stage to set the mood. Mother Mother (what is it with these double-up song titles?) Shiverman and the energetic Roady, which is one of my favourite FFD music videos, nicely rounded out the set ending the night on a euphoric high.