Friday, September 05, 2008


I missed Frightened Rabbit at Night & Day in April. They pulled out of A Day At The Races in August (and I wasn't there anyway). So I was determined to see them this time in September. Even though on this Friday I had several other commitments; plus seeing them would be at the expense of Camera Obscura at Club Academy. Life is not fair sometimes.

It was worth the effort getting there though. I missed the support bands except for the last three songs by We Were Promised Jetpacks. They are a youthful four-piece from Glasgow, tonight apparently their first gig in England. A perfect support band: similar - but not too similar - to the headliners, playing a fast, furious, sweaty and energetic set - but not going to eclipse the main act. They belong more to the post-punk/garage-rock lineage of Glasgow bands rather than the West Coast harmonies and jangle school. Definitely worth seeing live again - interesting to hear how these breakneck-paced songs come out on record?

A three piece on record, FR are bolstered to a four piece on tour with Scott on guitars/vocals; Billy on guitar/bass/keyboards; Grant on drums and (Billy 2?) on guitar/keyboards. So this meant on the opening couple of songs you had three guitars and drums. Great stuff.

I saw lead singer Scott standing at the side of stage just before their set, with stern expression and intense, staring eyes. Was this existential angst? Nerves? Or just taking a breather? Possibly the latter because on stage, in between songs, he was genial and good-humoured, thanking everyone several times for turning up, apologising for "being so shit" when they appeared in April. However live they lose the warm-natured approach to add a bit of ferocity to the rancour and self-loathing of songs like Fast Blood and The Modern Leper.

A relatively brief set (just under an hour) that took in most of second album The Midnight Organ Fight, they kept up an absorbing level of intensity even in slower songs like Floating On The Forth (claiming tonight they had never played it live before?). The set finished with a (failed) segue into an acoustic performance of Poke from Scott standing alone on the cabinets in front of the stage. It might not have been 'electric' but it was as gripping as the other performances, with the sing-a-long from the crowd seeming to add rather than take away from its power. The band then returned to the stage to finish with Keep Yourself Warm - the bleakest anthem to sexual desperation I think I have ever heard but one of their finest moments.

The Set List:
I Feel Better
Fast Blood
Good Arms Vs Bad Arms
Old Old Fashioned
The Modern Leper
Heads Roll Off
Floating In The Forth
[something here?]
Keep Yourself Warm

The UK tour continues this month (see here) before Europe and North America in October and then back to the UK to support Death Cab For Cutie.

Frightened Rabbit
The Midnight Organ Fight [BUY]

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