NOV. 16, 2010
Last Wednesday I went to Fitzgerald’s one of Houston’s oldest and finest venues for two reasons: to experience Freelance Whales – a band that has received much media coverage over the past year; and, of course, to see Grandfather Child with Robert Ellis & the Boys perform the songs that have made both bands local legends.
Based in Queens, N.Y., Freelance Whales is comprised of 5 people all of which are multi-instrumentalists. The muted drums, harmonium, banjo, & xylophone were all nice touches and I believe is the main factor that sets this band apart from others. Their synthisized tones and vocals, though, reminded me of The Anniversary, which, if you haven’t heard of before – I highly recommend. Although Freelance Whales reminded me of one of my favorite groups, their energy simply wasn’t present – it seemed to me as if they were deflated or perhaps exhausted from the tour. Even the audience, despite cheering and yelling requests for Broken Horse and The Great Estates, also seemed unenthused and didn’t really dance. I say that with the caveat that Houston audiences generally seem unenthused and don’t dance (tsk tsk).
I understand this isn’t a band that you’re going to rock out too – they are much more mellow – the type of band you listen to on a rainy day. Their sound is so soft and sublte, the build ups they had were nice but still anti-climactic. Maybe that’s what they’re going for, but I think you can still be a somber band and put on a great live performance that leaves the crowd pumped and talking about what a great experience it was. In fact when the show was over, and as I walked with the crowd down the stairs, I really didn’t hear much banter about the show. People didn’t linger, they just left Fitz – don’t they know Robert Ellis & the Boys are playing?!?! Seriously, if you haven’t seen them or Grandfather Child you’re missing out.
I asked a couple of people in the crowd what they thought of Freelance Whales, here are their responses:
Nathan like Freelance Whales because of their “thriving 4/4 rhythm and airy melodic tunes”
Austin came to the show because he “heard one song [online] and there wasn’t shit to do on Wednesday night.”