Review | Freelance Whales at Paradise Rock Club

Day Off

words & photo by: Courtney Leigh Allen

Freelance Whales at Paradise Rock Club

The crowd Monday night at the Paradise Rock Club showed up early. Actually, it’s entirely possible that they showed up just for the openers, Freelance Whales. Even half an hour before the Queens-based quintet was set to go on, the place was packed.

The sold-out Foals show was supposed to start off with a set by Naked and Famous, but due to illness, they had to pull out. Luckily for the Freelance Whales fans in the audience, it meant we got to listen to a fifty-minute set by group.

The entire crowed roared when Kevin, Chuck, Jacob, Judah and Doris came onto the stage. They opened with Generator ^ First Floor, which I contend is one of the best opening songs for any band ever. It starts with just noise, but slowly builds into a harmonic and melodic gem. “We get up early just to start cranking the generator,” Judah, the lead vocalist, croons. Freelance Whales know how to warm up a crowd just as well as they know how to warm up an cold, decrepit, haunted house.

They played almost every song off their debut album Weathervanes, rotating instruments for each tune. Each band mate plays at least three instruments. One song they’ve got Judah on lead vocals and synthesizer, but later he moves to banjo, as Doris takes over the synth. The next song has Doris on the glockenspiel, Chuck on the guitar and Kevin on the bass. Then Chuck is back on the mandolin and Kevin on the electric guitar. It goes on and on.

The band got loud cheers for more than a few of their songs. Hannah, Broken Horse and Kilojoules were house favorites. Freelance Whales really is that band that you know you love. But then you see the live, for the first, second or third time, and you’re always reminded just how much you love them.

The band has had a hectic last few years. Their debut album was released in April of last year, and they’ve been touring since then. Add to that last summer’s festival circuit and a cameo with the PS22 Chorus, they’ve been busy. But after this tour, which ends next week in Rhode Island, they’re hitting the studio to record their sophomore album. Here’s to hoping it’s full of more ghost stories.

The band continues the tour:

5/04 – Terminal 5 – New York, NY (co-headlining with Foals)
5/05 – Theatre of the Living Arts – Philadelphia, PA*
5/06 – 9:30 Club – Washington, DC (co-headlining with Foals)
5/07 – Ottobar – Baltimore, MD*
5/08 – The Met – Pawtucket, RI*

*Foals & The Naked & the Famous