23 Mar 2024

Fred again.. sneaks up on the capital, rocks his fans

11:41 am on 23 March 2024
UK DJ Fred again.. (Fred Gibson) performs at Waitangi Park in Wellington, on Friday 22 March, 2024.

UK DJ Fred again.. (Fred Gibson) performs at Waitangi Park in Wellington, on Friday 22 March, 2024. Photo: Supplied

Review - You know it's a good gig when the music is still crashing around your head when you wake up the next day.

On Friday night, the UK DJ - producer - musician known as Fred again.. performed in front of 8000 fans inside Waitangi Park in Wellington (as well as many more hangers-on outside).

Speculation has been rife for weeks that Fred again.. (Fred Gibson) would add New Zealand to the end of his Australia tour.

So when he did on Tuesday, everyone younger than 30 lost their collective minds.

The hype around the 30-year-old is hard to wrap your head around. The last-minute 'secret' gigs and arena-sized shows announced mere days out creates a frenzy generally unseen outside Swifties.

You never know where he'll turn up and when. That's where the magic lies.

I'm a relatively late adopter of Fred again.. - his albums released in lockdown completely passed me by - and like anyone late to the party I have been pre-loading with enthusiasm.

By the time these shows were announced I was well and truly drinking the Kool-Aid.

So, did he live up to the hype?

After sets from BBYFACEKILLA and Joy Anonymous the crowd was primed, and it was a strong start.

"How are you feeling Wellington!?"

Typically understated, in his trademark hoodie, Fred again.. took to the stage.

The effect was religious - the packed bleachers behind him were a gospel choir, the adoring crowd in front of him worshippers bathed in orange light.

UK DJ Fred again.. (Fred Gibson) performs at Waitangi Park in Wellington, on Friday 22 March, 2024.

Photo: Supplied

It was a full body experience as the song 'Tate (how i feel)' crept up, the looping vocal samples and electronica washing through you as the drum line set in.

But it's not just the personal, often heart-breaking feel of his music that makes Fred again.. fans follow him around the country. But the man himself.

"The mix between the beats and the lyrics is good. But it's his vibe that's the best," I was told by one concert-goer who missioned it from New Plymouth.

"(The last-minute announcements are) frustrating as f*** but it's worth it. I changed my flights to a wedding for this."

Other fans were equally enamoured after they were treated to an appearance by Fred again.. at central Wellington pub Welsh Dragon and were given free tickets to Friday's gig at Waitangi Park:

"He likes to keep everyone in suspense, but I think he still appreciates what it's like to be on the other side," one said.

"He's only recently become famous. In a year's time he'll be like the Kardashians. Untouchable."

After the Auckland floods cancelled his performance at Laneway in 2023 Fred again.. 'popped-up' in Wellington, with the typically last-minute gigs selling out in minutes.

And the Welsh Dragon pop-up wasn't the only one on this visit.

Earlier in the week, the co-owners of Maranui Café Bronwyn Kelly and Katie Richardson got a call from the musician's 'people' floating the idea of a pop-up gig at the Lyall Bay café.

"He came in a year ago apparently, and loved the breakfast. The idea of a sunset gig (on Thursday) was perfect.

"We threatened all the staff - 'you can't say anything, it's a secret.'

"He has such a lovely vibe, comes in and gives us all a big hug, says 'thank you so much'."

Richardson and Kelly were both in the crowd on Friday, as were the eagle-eyed fans who made it to the Maranui pop-up.

"I tried to be chill," said one. "But it [the Maranui-gig] was just so wholesome.

"I f***ing adore the man, I cried like three times."

Understandable. Having heard his music in my ears for the past year - at work, in the car, on runs - hearing it in the flesh was transporting.

It was banger after banger on Friday: 'Nathan (still breathing)', 'Delilah (pull me out of this)', 'leavemealone' featuring Baby Keem.

My notes app shows the heavy 'Rumble' (Skrillex and Flowdan) in ALL CAPS, followed by a series of expletives - the bass was a complete physical experience.

Rounding out the set with 'Adore u' featuring Obongjayar was a move that spoke to the crowd directly - genius.

Much has been made about the celebrity connections Fred again.. has (if his Wiki page is anything to go by it's pretty wild) but there is no denying this man has massive talent.

Auckland, you already know what's coming, best advice: buckle-up! He more than lives up to the hype.

Fred again.. is due to play at Auckland's Spark Arena on Tuesday 26 March and Wednesday 27 March.

And those interested to see where he might pop up next can follow the Fred again.. Instagram stories.

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