The Fratellis @ 9:30 Club - 9/21/15

Touring to support the release of their fourth album, Eyes Wide, Tongue Tied, Scottish indie rock trio The Fratellis came to play a sold-out 9:30 Club last week. Named after the beleaguered crime family at the center of the conflict in the 1985 adventure/comedy film The Goonies, the band had seemed to flirt with the edge of novelty act status when they first appeared on the scene in the middle of the last decade. But rather than fading away as so many of the bands from that time period seemed to do, The Fratellis have built up a catalog of material, with each effort stronger and more complex than the last, while still maintaining the distinctive sound that made the band stand out in the first place.

Starting off a typically raucous set with “Henrietta,” the opening track from their 2007 debut album Costello Music felt like a trip back to the past, with the song sounding like as fresh and energetic a statement of intent as ever. But The Fratellis aren’t ready to be a nostalgia act just yet, as they proved by following it up with barely a pause with “Baby Don’t You Lie To Me!,” one of several tracks on the new album that practically begs for hit single status. For more than an hour and a half, the band didn’t let up on the energy, with singer and guitarist Jon Fratelli leading bandmates bassist Barry Fratelli and drummer Mince Fratelli through a 23-song set which gave nearly equal representation to both the new album and the band’s earlier work, in particular the debut album and 2013’s We Need Medicine. Largely missing from the set in comparison was 2008’s sophomore album, Here We Stand, represented only by two songs.

The Fratellis performing at the 9:30 Club in Washington, DC - 9/21/15 (photo by Matt Condon)

Highlights of the set included now-classic singles “Flathead,” “Baby Fratelli,” and “A Heady Tale,” along with new tracks “Dogtown,” “Imposters (Little By Little),” “She’s Not Gone Yet But She’s Leaving,” and “Me and the Devil.”  The song that nearly everyone in the club was waiting for, the anthemic “Chelsea Dagger,” was saved for the penultimate song of the encore, with the closing track of We Need Medicine, “Until She Saves My Soul,” closing out the night.

The show was opened by Los Angeles-based quintet Grizfolk, who seem to be rising fast enough in their own career to have their own contingent of fans noticeably present for their set. The band played their latest single “Troublemaker,” which has been receiving mainstream radio airplay, along with additional tracks from their forthcoming debut album.

All photos by Matt Condon.
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