Live review: Frightened Rabbit & We Were Promised Jetpacks @ The Arches, Glasgow

Hang on a minute. How come nobody told us that Frightened Rabbit frontman Scott Hutchison had joined WE WERE PROMISED JETPACKS?

There he comes, trotting on to the stage at The Arches last night with his four pals in the support band, adding ear-bleeding guitar sounds to the sonic terror of Keeping Warm. As openers go, it’s intense gratification, but as soon as the song ends Scott unplugs his axe and exits stage right, without a word or a nod.

And the Jetpacks just keep on playing, getting noisier and more ferocious, the drums pounding along to Moving Clocks Run Slow and Roll Up Your Sleeves, before three songs in they eventually pause for breath and acknowledge their erstwhile member’s fleeting cameo appearance in passing with typical Scottish understatement.

The crowd lap it up and by the set-closing Quiet Little Voices the whoops and hollers have turned to shrieks of pleasure.

The narrow cavern of The Arches is heaving by the time FRIGHTENED RABBIT walk on, and initially it seems the rough edges that made them such a one-off in the alternative pop world they inhabit have been smoothed, with I Feel Better coming across as just a little bit too slick.

But no such worries. This was an unashamed celebration of their second album The Midnight Organ Fight, with every single track except Who’d You Kill Now? given an airing. And it’s clear the majority of the crowd wouldn’t have it any other way as they chant back their heroes’ anthems.

Fired up by the reception, Frightened Rabbit respond in kind with a heart-stirring performance that touched the soul. The encore sees Scott return to the stage on his own, foregoing a microphone to sing Poke as the audience hushes itself, before he ditches his acoustic guitar to take in the special moment he has created as his lyrics are sung back at him.

Keep Yourself Warm proves an unexpectedly triumphant ending, the most unlikely of singalongs (“You won’t find love in a hole. It takes more than fucking someone to keep warm…”) echoing around in a truly extraordinary night.
4 Frightened Rabbit – Old Old Fashioned (Liver! Lung! FR! live album)
b November 14, Corn Exchange, Edinburgh (supporting Death Cab For Cutie) (tickets)
b November 29, King Tut’s, Glasgow (tickets)

4 We Were Promised Jetpacks – Roll Up Your Sleeves (live)
b October 16, 13th Note, Glasgow
b October 18, The Twa Tams, Perth
b October 25, King Tut’s, Glasgow (supporting Port O’Brien) (tickets)
b October 27, Fat Sams, Dundee (supporting Teenage Fanclub) (tickets)

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