*Live Review written by guest writer Oonagh Collins*
Frightened Rabbit are currently on a mini-UK tour with fifth album ‘Painting of a Panic Attack’ and it feels like they are poised, ready to enter the mainstream. With singalong anthems and a lead singer sporting a good line in banter, it’s not surprising.
They’re back again having taken a two year break due to “touring fatigue” following the last album. This “fatigue” resulted in front man Scott Hutchison releasing a solo album, though presumably there was no falling out – he was still talking to his band members as they’re playing on said solo album!
The crowd at Academy 2 are keen, singing and clapping along, resulting in a high energy in the room. Frightened Rabbit certainly have the “Lads!” on board, with lots of shout-singing along. It felt like quite a laddish, beery crowd on the night; more than I expected, given the introspective nature of the albums. Having said that, there were plenty of women at the show, so they’re well set up for mass appeal. Plus, singing in a Scottish accent never did any harm to a band’s prospects.
Hutchison talked on the night about how odd but rewarding it was to be touring again. Shouts from the audience of “Go for it” brought the promise of “I’m gonna!”
The show certainly picked up energy as it went along. Following an ok start, the band really began to relax into it, performing well about 20 minutes in around ‘Living in Colour‘. The night featured a good spread of songs from different albums, with standouts for me being ‘Old Old Fashioned‘, ‘Heads Roll Off‘ and ‘Nothing Like You‘. All the more rock anthems went down very well with the crowd, with laddish favourite ‘Keep Yourself Warm‘ proving a rousing finish to the first part of their performance.
The encore opened with ‘Die Like A Rich Boy‘ from their new album. This was a solo acoustic performance from Hutchison, who comes across as the heart and soul of the group. With the majority of Frightened Rabbit’s songs credited to Hutchison, this is the first album where the other band members have been more involved in writing the music together. It seems like this has paid off, having Hutchison’s lyrics with a group effort on the tunes keeping things fresh. His soul searching, heart baring lyrics are as uncompromising as ever.
Hutchison has spoken about writing Painting of a Panic Attack acting as a form of therapy. This idea of cathartic writing is not new for him, with previous albums ‘The Midnight Organ Fight‘ and ‘Pedestrian Verse’ written as break-up albums. This time though, the woman he moved to L.A. for is still there but his reaction to living in that disconnected city is the food for his inspiration.
The final song of the night was ‘The Loneliness and the Scream‘ from ‘The Winter of Mixed Drinks’, another belter for the fans with everyone singing along to every line and then singing the band off the stage at the end. Definitely a good time had by all.