Leeds O2 Academy. Monday 12th December
10 years after The Fratellis released their much loved, seminal album ‘Costello Music’ the Glasgow lads (now of course, middle aged men) hit the road and our ears, hard in celebration. Filling venues has proved to be a breeze – most gigs sold out with extra dates added to please the disappointed. Costello Music remains an album that most are proud to have on display; one which still gets dusted down and hits the decks for a stompin’ good time. And tonight, that’s what the crowd are expecting and what they’re determined to have.
In a packed venue, loyal partisans and a younger set now old enough to celebrate a return to their ‘first ever album’ and/or their ‘first ever gig’, sway in mass anticipation, firing the occasional plastic beaker of beer across the heads of the masses. It’s a crowd that feels like hounds ready to be released, hungry for Henrietta to launch us into a thirteen-track long frenzy of fun. And then The Fratellis hit the stage and hit our ears with… Baby Don’t Lie To Me. And to be honest it does feel a bit like the crowd have been lied to. The pumped-up masses flatten a little as the next few numbers are played out, with no note of Costello included. New stuff undoubtedly shared to give us a flavour of the new album (and it’s not bad either) but it’s clear the crowd have come for Costello.
And then it arrives… Costello Music, belted out to a swell and sway that quickly escalates into a tsunami of the masses, who in turn release flares to warn any by-standers that there’s no escaping the fun. The band and the album have lost none of their kick and for the next hour many of us are 10 years younger and determined to show we’ve sacrificed nothing to Old Father Time. It’s hot, it’s happening and the crowd are loving every minute of it. Chelsea Dagger provides a predictable highlight as the penultimate number in a set that culminates with Ole Black ‘n’ Blue Eyes, which itself might well prove to be a description of some of the faces emerging from the evening’s pit.
Returning for an encore to the inevitable chants of ‘Yorkshire, Yorkshire’, Jon Fratelli acknowledges the home crowd with gratitude and affection. They willingly reciprocate, readily accepting there’s to be only one number due to the dreaded lurgy and accompanying throat infection the singer has, by now, clearly endured. It’s a Heady Tale, which aptly sums up this exhilarating evening of Naughties nostalgia. If you get chance of tickets to the rescheduled gigs next spring, you might need cod liver oil and ibuprofen, but you won’t be disappointed.