It’s rare that a live performance has all the elements there for the perfect storm – a band full of energy, an audience that can’t stop screaming in delight, a beautifully orchestrated light show, and everyone being just about drunk enough to sing loudly without caring if they look foolish.
Frightened Rabbit, a Scottish band originally from Selkirk, probably weren’t expecting this perfect storm. Scott Hutchinson, the lead singer, confirms this when he tells the audience that Ireland was a problem, because “we sell 120 records here…so where did you all come from? Do you think you’re at The 1975 or something?”
Frightened Rabbit have a frantic energy that any band would struggle to open for, but singer-songwriter Eve Bell doesn’t have to compete as she brings a different vibe to the venue. Her charmingly awkward demeanour lends itself well to her songs about topics such as drunken text messages, and leads to a pleasantly chilled out audience.
This quickly changes from the moment Frightened Rabbit take to the stage. Opening with ‘Get Out,’ they display enthusiasm for their craft that doesn’t lag once during the entire show.
The live renditions sound completely different to their recorded output, which usually would be an indicator of a poor performance. In this case, however, it’s a welcome surprise. The band is at their best when you see the sharp edges to their songs about alcohol dependency (‘I Wish I Was Sober’) and blacking out (‘Living in Colour’) that have been dulled down in album production.
These energetic rhythms keep the crowd dancing throughout, a remarkable feat considering there are a variety of demographics: fresh-faced kids just gone eighteen, Americans, trendy Dublin folk, and in the middle of it all a crowd of brash Scottish men here to support their brethren. This is a crowd that demand not one, but two encores, meaning that the band finish on their old classic ‘Keep Yourself Warm.’
This is a stellar live band, and it’s a rare case where album production values cloud their true talent. If you ever get the chance to see them play, listen to their albums only so that you can scream the words along with the rest of the audience.
Frightened Rabbit photographed by Kieran Frost