Frightened Rabbit - O2 Academy, Glasgow, Sat 16 Nov 2013
A triumphant return to Scottish soil for the Selkirk-born indie-folk quintet
Ah, a live gig on Scottish soil from local folk-rockers, Frabbits, where to begin? The sold-out venue, scattered with their zealous, die-hard fans? Their set-list merging old and ready faithfuls with their more recent, similarly well received material? Or the look of very genuine pride and exultation on lead singer Scott Hutchison’s face? The Selkirk-born band’s return from touring the US was destined to be triumphant, and the ear-shattering applause as they forged on stage made it obvious from the get-go.
Blending pensive and dour lyrical charm with the rugged indie folk rhythms that have garnered them mainstream appeal, the night showed signs of something bigger happening for the band: an actual production set, mist and atmospheric lighting, plus extra drummers drafted in for a megabeat on their more epic tracks. Their opener ‘Holy’ set a steamroller-style pace, held for more than an hour onstage. First came the twanging guitar of ‘Modern Leper’ and the rollicking hoe-down of ‘Old Old Fashioned’, before icy blue lights swathed the stage during downtempo number, ‘December’s Traditions’. ‘Music Now’ was an addition, as Hutchison put it, ‘for anyone who gives a shit about our first record’ and a welcome homage to their roots.
Ballads moved from lovelorn to gutsy and angsty, first with Pedestrian Verse’s sublime ‘Nitrous Gas’, stripped down to a three-piece vocal harmony. A duet of EP track ‘Fuck this Place’ was stunningly partnered with ethereal vocals from Lanterns on the Lake singer Hazel Wilde, before the weather-beaten ‘Scottish Winds’ gave Hutchison his acoustic solo moment.
The encore choice was weighty – the band’s recent hit ‘The Woodpile’ was followed by ‘the second dancing song’ of the evening; the unforgettable, rejection-fuelled ‘The Twist’. With the heart-hammering drums and vocal chants behind ‘The Loneliness and the Scream’ ringing in the crowd’s ears, Frightened Rabbit’s ability to pen a bona fide anthem was left in no doubt.