Fred's House London Album Launch with Lisa Wright @ 229 The Venue
On approaching 229, the queue was somewhat larger than the expected, it turned out that there was a secondary queue to see Wet Wet Wet in 229's other venue, although as we were later to find out it was Wet Wet Wet without Marti Pellow, so many would have done better to have joined us for a fabulous night of music.
Support for the evening came in the shape of Lisa Wright, returning to the venue where she launched her EP "Mind Of Mine" in my view 2018's Best EP, against it must be said very stiff opposition. Dressed in some impossibly white boots she opened with the uptempo "Why Would I Wanna" oozing with confidence full of smiles. Her all to short set continued with "Back To You" you could see her clearly making eye contact with familiar faces in the room.
It was then time for the first of three songs from the latest EP ( which I'm glad to hear is now only left in limited quantities.) with "Giving Up the Ghost". Lisa's ability to deliver this EP live never fails to astound, she is always able to make the smallest of changes, a minute change in delivery that somehow sells the song even more, On "Mind Of Mine" tonight, there was a slight linger on the line "I'm dying to change", to many it was possibly imperceptible but for me it just reinforced the whole meaning of the song. A cover of "Time After Time" showed the audience to be a rather tuneful harmonious crowd. There then followed a moment of sheer serendipity during the excellent "Tennessee", as it's co-writer Kaity Rae happened to walk in the room right on queue, and was immediately cajoled into providing additional vocals for the final chorus One final tour de force came in the shape of "In The End", co written with Holloway Road, the building atmosphere created by a shift in guitar volume on the final verse. It's a highlight of any Lisa Wright show and closed her set to a well earned round of applause.
She'll be back at the Green Note in January for another full band show - not to be missed!!!
Tonights event is something that has been in the diary for some weeks and has been both something to look forward to yet at the same time coming with a slight tinge of regret. Fred's House have provided some fantastic memories for #TEAMw21, from their storming performances at 2 consecutive MidWinterfests through to their performances at our local venue the Norden Arts Centre. Tonight, however as well as being an album launch is one of the final shows for lead vocalist and guitarist Griff who will leave the band at the end of the year to perform music in a new venture.
This show is to launch "Careless", their third and best album to date It's an album we've been playing for some weeks at #TEAMw21, and you can tell Fred's House are proud of it as well, choosing to open the show with 6 straight songs from the new opus, starting with "This Little Boy", which saw Vikki doing some expressive tambourine work, the rest of the band with smiles on their faces loving every second. It is that love of playing that clearly comes through in their live shows, the sound built on the sturdy foundations of Paul Richards drumming, and and Gafyn's bass work, with Lachlan Golder doing a sterling job on guitar, providing a flourish when required but mainly effortlessly giving the songs texture, while up front Griff and Vikki are the front of house staff handling vocals, introductions and additional instrumentation
The title track of "Careless" was swiftly followed by the double A Side single of "Never Gonna Love You" with Vikki providing outstanding vocals, followed by "Can We Just Pretend" with Griff providing an equally great vocal performance. The styles continued to flow from the jazzy sound of "I'm Not Saying" which was one of the best ensemble piece of the night although honestly you could lay that praise at the foot of nearly any of the songs.
The final song of the new album songs !I Can't Call You Mine" also saw an additional band member with Hannah Elizabeth providing excellent violin contribution which was also handled exceptionally by the sound engineer.
A few diversions away from the new album followed "Bonnie & Clyde£ slowed the pace, followed by "Looking Glass" and "Hold On" the latter coming second in a fan survey of songs that they'd like to hear on the tour.
As mentioned earlier the highlights came thick and fast, Vikki's vocal power vocals on "Sooner Or Later" were exceptional and the thumping drum intro that heralded the start of "The Chain" was again cause for celebration, Gafyn's face when it came to start the second part of the song was an absolute picture of joy, while Lachlan's handling of the guitar solo was equally a joy to watch.
There were always going to be certain Fred's House signature songs, "Fine Life" showing "how we roll!", and "Ghost Town" with its glorious "Ba Ba Ba Ba Bada Ba refrain, although even here they were not afraid to take chances and so when the next song was introduced as "Something a little different" few would have expected a slow soulful version of "Shut Up And Dance". The main set then closed with the masterpiece that is "Beautiful You" the first half of the song a beautiful ballad the second a furious paced ever increasing in speed Russian folk frenzy!
The encores brought things to a close in fitting style, "Another Universe", was followed by a version of "With A Little Help My Friends" with the lines shared around the band, even Lachlan looking a little sheepish took a line.
Freds' House are playing as good as they have ever been, providing an exhilarating live show, so in some ways Griff's departure will be the end of an era, the good news is that Fred's House will be continuing to provide their unique style of entertainment while Griff and Hannah Elizabeth will be performing together as well - all of which we'll continue report on.
All due praise to Laurel Canyon & Talentbanq for setting up such a marvelous night.