Live review: Frightened Rabbit @ ABC 1, Glasgow

There are two moments when Scott Hutchison is so affected by the significance of this night in the life of FRIGHTENED RABBIT that he’s on the verge of tears.

The first comes during Good Arms Vs Bad Arms, in which the poignant slide-guitar sound echoes around the high ceilings of the ABC, a venue they could have sold out twice over. Glasgow, the city that has been the band’s home from home since their inception, has at last realised just how special these guys are.

I’ve been to at least a dozen Frightened Rabbit gigs in the past three years and never once seen them ‘go through the motions’. I don’t think they’d even know how to. Every song they perform seems so real and delicately formed, the lyrics both relatable and relevant. They give everything of themselves and ask for nothing in return.

Three songs in, a bunch of flowers lands at Scott’s feet. “I feel like Morrissey,” he quips, sweeping the anonymous fan’s gift across the floor and unceremoniously lobbing them to the far end of the stage. “Thanks for the flowers, by the way, but I’m allergic.”

The recent addition of a fifth member Gordon Skene – who flits between guitar, keyboard and even banjo on Old Old Fashioned – is a timely reminder that this band are building for the big time. Head Rolls Off and The Modern Leper, with their slow-fast tempo changes, benefit most tonight from a new-found meatiness and it doesn’t take long to realise that Frightened Rabbit have never sounded better live.

The only track aired from debut album Sing The Greys is the controlled thrash-pop of Square 9, with its immense conclusion as Grant’s bandmates leave him on stage for a frenzied solo drumming finish. After barely 30 seconds, Scott returns and asks the crowd to raise a glass (see above) as he thanks them for “one of the finest nights in Frightened Rabbit history” before the now-traditional singalong that is Poke, which the audience is only too willing to join in.

The band close the set with Keep Yourself Warm, possibly the group’s most unlikely anthem, and as it ends, Scott is the one left alone on stage this time, wringing out the final note on his guitar over and over again as he makes this euphoric moment last as long as possible. He is visibly moved and his eyes begin to well up as he takes in the crowd’s vociferous appreciation. I think everyone felt it.

Frightened Rabbit – Poke
Frightened Rabbit –
Living In Colour (session)
December 31, Waverley Stage, Edinburgh (tickets)

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