They’re the Shit and I’m Knee-Deep in it

Having  supported Modest Mouse in Dublin and Galway, Frightened Rabbit ventured south to Cork last Sunday where they were warmly welcomed as the night’s main event. I saw the Scottish 6-piece in Cyprus Avenue last April and was blown away by the accoustic set they performed, so I was eager to experience the band in all they’re amplified glory. The Midnight Organ Fight was the band’s breakthrough album and was unquestionably one of the best releases of 2008.

Unsurprisingly the set was much more uptempo and energetic this time round. Anthems like Fast Blood and Keep Yourself Warm were thrashed out at such a decibel and with such vigour that the crowd was noticeably torn between reserved admiration and awe-inspired exuberance. The seemless time changes and bizarre facial expressions of drummer Grant Hutchison was a spectacle in itself, personifying the commitment to entertain.

Frontman Scott Hutchison revealed a fear of ‘boring’ the devoted gathering with new songs with only a handful thrown in. ‘Boring’ is certainly not an apt description as the lads seemed to crank to volume all thew way up to 11 in a bid (successful bid) to make the newbies instant favourites. While perhaps sounding that bit louder, the new tracks retain the bands melodic coherence and lyrical honesty.

Honesty is one the Frightened Rabbit‘s most appealing attributes. Despite touring with the likes of Death Cab for Cutie you get the feeling they still relish these smaller scale shows. In a genre where mediocrity is met with critical acclaim and armies of followers it baffles me that the Selkirk outfit maintain a relatively modest, even if obsessive, fan base. Their talent has been recognised Stateside however, with songs appearing in popular shows such as Greys Anatomy and One Tree Hill. With their 2010 album The Winter of Mixed Drinks sounding every bit as strong as 08’s Organ Fight stardom is surely just around the corner. For now though I’m just happy to see an amazing gig for a low price in an intimate venue.

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6 Responses to They’re the Shit and I’m Knee-Deep in it

  1. Kyle McEnery says:

    good stuff qzak,i certainly cant wait for the follow up album!!!!!

  2. Alai Mac Erc says:

    Great shows, both of them! (And also saw them support The Biff at the SECC.)

    One small quibble, though: they were (and so far as I know, still are) a five-piece for their “loud” show, and were a four-piece for the “quiet” one (and for MOF period in general). I’m told there were just three of them for the first album (also well-worth a listen), just the two brothers for their early demos, and initially, just Scott! So extrapolating the obvious straight-line fit, next album and tour, you’ll be right, and they’ll be a six-pack! And by the time they have the number of albums Rush do, they’ll have as many members as Arcade Fire.

    • ammelio says:

      Thanks for the comment. You’re quite right to point out my inaccuracy in branding them a six-piece. There were four official members for the making and touring of Midnight Organ Fight. Gordon Skene was added as a fifth in the production of The Winter of Mixed Drinks. The sixth presence cramping the Cyprus Avenue stage is only used for live performances.
      Ya it seems their size sound is growing with each passing album, I just hope that they retain some of the subtlety of thier early days.

      • Alai Mac Erc says:

        I’m pretty sure there wasn’t a sixth person, though. Cyprus avenue’s stage is sufficiently small that it’s plenty crowded just with five!

        The only six-piece I’ve seen play there was British Sea Power. They seemed to have lost one of the band entirely, one of their guitarists was shoved right off to the side and back of the stage, and Abi Fry was wedged into one corner with her back to the audience, and seeming to be in constant danger of having the bass player’s eye out with the bow of her viola. (Another superb gig, though.)

      • ammelio says:

        Thinking about it, it does seem highly unlikely that the stage could manage six performers. I’ve seen many five-piece acts struggle to breathe up there. I had asssumed that my initial count must have been correct but maths was never my strongest point, numbers over 4 have always problematic!
        😛

      • Alai Mac Erc says:

        One certainly wouldn’t want to be going on first of three acts with five there, would one? Another act that seemed to be almost as cramped were Villagers, in five-piece mode, coming on before Wild Beasts (and after Lone Wolf, in one-piece mode, as it were), who also had to share the stage with a chunk of WB’s equipment.

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