New Zealand band Fat Freddy’s Drop delighted crowds at a County Durham Theatre tonight (July 10) as they helped kick off Durham Brass Festival.

Crowds flocked to Durham’s Gala Theatre to hear Fat Freddy’s Drop this evening as part of the unmissable lineup for this year’s Durham Brass Festival.

The band, made up of DJ Fitchie, Joe Dukie, Chopper Reeds, Tony Chang, Kuki Blaze, Hopepa, ManRaro and MC Slave aka Mark Williams, are one of the most internationally active bands in the world. Just two days after their performance in Durham they are jetting off to the Netherlands.

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With over 900k monthly listeners on Spotify and nearly 80k on Instagram, their sound is said to be an ultimate mix of anything from rock to reggae. Each member draws from their own specific music taste and the result is a band with that many influences they can suit everyone’s taste.

With all that, it’s certainly safe to say that their reputation precedes them.

Before ‘the drop’ took the stage, fellow New Zealander Louis Baker got the audience moving with renditions of Prince’s Purple Rain and his own tune Overdrive.

Baker was extremely interactive with the audience, getting them to clap along as he sung. Crowds responded happily and gave him a huge cheer when he finished his set.

The Northern Echo: Fat Freddy's Drop at Durham Brass Festival.

Then, Fat Freddy’s drop took the stage. From the outset, crowds could be seen grooving to the tunes as the band moved on to Blackbird, before thrilling the audience with classic hit Roady, as the audience screamed ‘fire!’ back to the equally enthralled band.

For some of the set, it almost felt like the audience were an accessory to the songs themselves. Every so often there would be some ‘heys!’ encouraged by the band or even a ‘woah-oh!’ much to the eager crowd’s enjoyment.

Around halfway through the performance, the band praised Durham and called it a “city full of friendly people”. By the end of the night, we were hailed as a “fantastic crowd” as the band joked we were the “loudest group of 500 people they had ever heard.”

As for the rest of the music, the two-hour set saw multitudes of genres mixed. Whether it was trance, reggae, electronic, jazz or rock, their vibe was a wicked concoction of everything backed up with a strong bass beat to match. To put this into words, most of the show felt like a bit of a carnival mixed with the vibes of a festival in the middle of a field in the early hours of the morning.

I think this is where the drawback was for me. Fat Freddy’s Drop cannot be faulted for their entertainment value, engagement with their fans or their creativity. However, for me personally, it felt just a bit too much.

The Northern Echo: Fat Freddy's Drop at Durham Brass Festival.

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Separate genres are kept separate for a reason and some elements often felt neglected in the songs. I was unsure which instrument was the feature. Is it the trumpet solo? Or is it the synth beats? I couldn’t tell.

However, some of these crazy combinations did work for me. In one song that I didn’t catch the title of, one of the band members jumped into the audience with a harmonica which made for a really interesting and unique beat.

Despite these redeeming qualities, there was still just not enough nuance for me.

They are not an act I would rush to see again in the future, however, I absolutely admire their creativity and spirit and can see why Fat Freddy’s Drop is an incredible collective that clearly holds a very special place in many music lovers’ hearts.