TweedLove. It starts at the top of a mountain, feet on the pedals and a single track plunging down into a darkened forest. It ends several hours later in a sweaty town hall with the majority of a small Borders town pogoing to one of Scotland’s biggest bands.
The story of how FRIGHTENED RABBIT came to be playing Peebles Burgh Hall slap-bang in the middle of festival season should be made into a VisitScotland advert and beamed to all corners of the globe. It is a tale of mountain biking and mudslides set to a soaring soundtrack of indie rock.
The organisers of the TweedLove festival – billed as “a week of bike riding and good times” -running from June 11-19, either have bottomless pockets or seductive charms on a par with Ryan Giggs after a Babycham bender. How else would they have enticed Frabbits to turn up in a small Borders town?
Turns out a bit of nepotism was enough to do the trick, with lead singer Scott Hutchison’s cousin helping to organise the shindig. A week-long series of biking events based at nearby Glentress – Scotland’s mountain biking Mecca – culminated in Selkirk’s finest swaggering on stage to be greeted by an eclectic gathering of indie kids, biking enthusiasts and, well, seemingly the entire population of Peebles.
Bringing together Scotland’s twin passions of mountain biking – the second most popular adventure activity after walking and a £119million-a-year industry – and rock music is a no-brainer and will hopefully spawn similar events.
Set-opener The Modern Leper proved incendiary, prompting mass singalongs and impromptu stripping from a dozen or so young lads at the front. “The view isn’t that great from up here,” chuckled Hutchison after Nothing Like You and Old Old Fashioned threatened to turn a town hall into something resembling a religious experience.
Frightened Rabbit seemed genuinely shocked by the madness enfolding before them. “We’re actually from Selkirk,” insisted Hutchison at one point, perhaps hoping that a dilution of the band’s local-hero status might dissuade the teenage tearaways from whipping their trousers off as well.
It was not the time or the place for new material and so The Twist, Head Rolls Off and Living In Colour built to a thrilling climax of Keep Yourself Warm.
“You won’t find love in a… won’t find love in a… won’t find love in a hole,” bellowed a thousand voices, as sweat ran down the walls and the band drifted off into the night.
TweedLove, it’ll get you in the end.
Frightened Rabbit – Living In Colour (alternative version)
Frightened Rabbit – Scottish Wind (acoustic)
Photos © Jim Law