10 July 2008
It’s going to be a good concert when everyone from a primary-schooler dressed in a kilt and tam to a 60-something banker type is shouting like mad for the act on stage. The Fratellis, three beat-driving brothers from Glasgow who look appropriately scruffy for their yell-along pub favourites, kicked off the Somerset House Summer Series with a sold-out bang.
The band laid their claim (literally) on Somerset House before ever taking the stage. They raised a yellow-and-red Fratellis flag over the neoclassical palace and promptly stormed out to Mistress Mabel, the throbbing anthem from their second album, Here We Stand. Although critics didn’t swoon as much for their sophomore release than their debut effort, Costello Music, the Somerset crowd hardly seemed disappointed with newer tracks like My Friend John and Tell Me a Lie.
Frontman Jon was charming as he directed his full house in a sing-along to Whistle for the Choir and, of course, Chelsea Dagger, but it was the brothers’ encore that put the audience in a fuss. “Baby!” begged one fan. “Baby! Play Baby!” Any good Fratellis fan with his or her weight in lager knows the good man wasn’t hitting on the frontman, but asking for the ripping chorus of Baby Fratelli. It made a solid, fist-pumping finale for the three-song ender.
The Summer Series continues tonight with French electro duo Justice and runs until 19 July. The Fratellis, and their excitable but well behaved crowd, are off jumping around somewhere else by now, but there are still nine nights left to revel in the palace courtyard.
– Jill Hilbrenner