The Fratellis, Royal Albert Hall, London

The Fratellis, Royal Albert Hall, London

Secure in his standing as one of rock's greats, the Who singer Roger Daltrey, organiser of the annual week of Teenage Cancer Trust gigs, was feeling generous. Popping on stage to introduce the night's headliners, he said: "If Scotland had ever produced the Who, we'd have been called the Fratellis!" The Glasgow three-piece looked stunned - as well they might have. The Fratellis may be ebullient noisemakers who understand what makes a pop song tick; their debut may have sold over a million albums; frontman Jon Lawler's head may even be crowned by the kind of wilting ringlets worn by Daltrey in the 70s. But they have a long way to go to match the Who's epochal incandescence.

Still, having been anointed, they took a game enough shot at delivering the goods. To paraphrase Dolly Parton, it takes a lot of smarts to sound this dumb, and the Fratellis are more than just a garage band who got lucky. Even the simplest glam stompers - Baby Fratelli, say, which exists so that Slade can stay in retirement - were taut and tongue-in-cheek. Whistle for the Choir, a tune that owes more to music hall than to rock, inspired an end-of-pier crowd singsong, and Flathead, familiar from an iTunes ad, gave Lawler licence to combine vaudeville la-la-las and beat-era blues guitar.

The Fratellis' problem, which was magnified on the Albert Hall stage, is that Lawler lacks the frontman gene. He is a mumbling backing musician who somehow ended up as lead singer, and the difference between him and the charismatic Daltrey, who joined them for a version of the Who's The Seeker, was vast. In a way, it did not matter - their solid-gold anthem, Chelsea Dagger, still compelled the crowd to shriek, and their new album, partly previewed here, sounded promising. But how much better would those immaculately primitive songs have been if Lawler loved the spotlight?

· At Academy 2, Manchester, tonight. Box office: 0161-385 3500.

Contributor

Caroline Sullivan

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Fratellis defy their knockers

In the news: The Scottish indie rockers' new album has won the approval of the Sun's breast-obsessed showbiz editor. Plus: Richards' slight on David Bowie and Winehouse's post-prison-visit lovebite

Rosie Swash

01, May, 2008 @10:42 AM

Article image
Fratellis split 'for now', says singer

Fratellis frontman Jon Lawler announces that the band 'have no plans to work together' in the immediate future

Sean Michaels

23, Apr, 2010 @9:15 AM

Article image
CD: The Fratellis, Here We Stand

(Island)

Dorian Lynskey

05, Jun, 2008 @11:10 PM

The Horrors/The Fratellis, Astoria, London

Astoria, London

Caroline Sullivan

19, Oct, 2006 @12:45 AM

Article image
The Fratellis: how we made Chelsea Dagger
‘My girlfriend was a burlesque dancer who used the name Chelsea Dagger. It was a play on Britney Spears’

Interviews by Henry Yates

29, Mar, 2021 @1:54 PM

Article image
The Fratellis: Eyes Wide, Tongue Tied review – indie hitmakers still full of hooks
It’s nearly 10 years since the Fratellis’ had their first big hit, but they’ve still got singalong melodies to spare

Dave Simpson

20, Aug, 2015 @9:30 PM

Video: Glasto objects: the Fratellis
The Scottish band are the first to ruminate on our everyday Glasto objects, before playing the Pyramid Stage tonight

John Domokos

27, Jun, 2008 @2:03 PM

Article image
Bingley Music Live – review

Acts who do well here tend to be those who get hands up in the air – and Tinchy Stryder, Katy B and Primal Scream do very well indeed, writes Dave Simpson

Dave Simpson

02, Sep, 2013 @4:49 PM

Article image
Jon Fratelli: Psycho Jukebox – review
The Fratellis frontman returns to his bloke-rock roots, writes Ally Carnwath

Ally Carnwath

09, Jul, 2011 @11:05 PM

Caroline Sullivan talks to the Fratellis about success and their new album

A multi-platinum album, songs sung by football crowds - it's all rosy for the Fratellis. Not that they think so, they tell Caroline Sullivan

Caroline Sullivan

26, Jun, 2008 @11:15 PM