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After a few years apart, the Fratellis are back in Manchester to play. All three original members are here, as well as a hidden keyboard player tucked away at the back. In a set list covering 22 songs, dominated by the whole of latest album ‘We Need Medicine’, there should be something here for everyone to chant and swagger along to.  Starting off with high tempo ‘This Old Ghost Town’ and ‘Baby Fratelli’, there are no ballads in the Fratellis’ repertoire, although a couple of tracks do feel like they’ve been slowed down slightly.

There is plenty to get involved with as ‘Whistle For The Choir’ is testament to. ‘Seven Nights, Seven Days’, the first single from the latest album is given a rousing performance and is a definite highlight of this set. Although the crowd don’t appear to appreciate it as much as offerings from their first album, it is a definite highlight. They do, however, predictable join in with the chorus and a round of hand clapping, encouraged by Barry who is only too eager to get the crowd going.

The encore includes a cover of Dion classic ‘Runaround Sue’, which may seem an odd choice, however, with a chant along ‘woooaaah’ and it fits right in with any other Fratellis’ song on show. Since 2006, no party or night out is complete without a chorus of ‘Chelsea Dagger’ and tonight is no different.  The assembled crowd make a rush to the front, beer held aloft and even a couple go up in the air, landing on … who knows.  I’ve been a victim of this, so, firmly stood at the back is the best way to avoid. Jon had offered to reimburse me for the lost beverages in an interview , however, he was a bit busy tonight, so I left him to it.

Something that becomes apparent as the set draws to an end is what an underrated guitar Jon is, being the only guitarist providing lead and rhythm, while his gravel toned voice entertains, he is definitely an under-mentioned gem.

Support came from Cut Ribbons who gave an encouraging set and show them to be one to watch. Their sound is defined by the dual vocals of guitarist Aled Rees and keyboard player Anna Griffiths.  They will have gained a few fans tonight, as a decent crowd has ensemble to watch them with latest single ‘Bound In Love’ being a highlight, a slow building track which lush guitars.

Review & photos by Philip Howe