Free Energy are one of those bands who are forced to keep their charm alive on a stage rather than on record. No disrespect to ‘Stuck on Nothing’ (it’s full of sticky guitar hooks and fluffed-up pop-rock sweetness), but it will always be the case that they don’t really have a direction upwards. But when they’re performing they practically look like cartoon characters: glitzy, shameless, and absolutely filled with joy – never a scrap of cynicism or a hint of sneer.
When the songs swell to one of their many guitar solos, Scott Wells takes centre stage, lights bouncing off his instrument, the long notes held even longer, exactly how Slash would’ve done it. Paul Spranger’s constant frolics disarm any pretence, throwing his lanky arms around like his bedroom door was locked. The crowd reciprocate graciously. Uber-tight jeans and semi-ironic moustaches aside, Free Energy are about love, fun, and dancing, just like the contents of their songs.
By the end of the night we’ve all regressed to wide-eyed preteens, beautiful and un-jaded, completely enamoured with the spectacle – a feeling that for most of us wore off ages ago. And that was even before they played a ‘Funky Town’ cover.
By Luke Winkie
Originally published in issue 25 (vol 3) of Loud And Quiet. February 2011