Frightened Rabbit : Live at Academy 2, Manchester 21/11/2010

By Denise Tench

Strawberry-flavoured shortbread? Check. Embroidered tea towels? Check. Folk-rock lyrical masters currently traversing the length and breadth of the UK? Errrm, check.

Frightened Rabbit may not be the Scottish borders’ most recognised export, but judging by the Manchester leg of their current UK tour, this may be set to change.

The band has a lot going for them tonight, first off, the quality of sound is astounding, a rarity for the vacuous Academy Two.

Despite the venue often acting as a kind of bland limbo between low-key bands and household names, Frightened Rabbit have managed to fill the room with genuinely enthusiastic, adoring fans and newcomers who actually want to listen to them rather than chat or stand at the bar – a good balance all round.

As a result of the attention they hold onstage, lead man Scott Hutchison’s vocal is startling tonight, with almost every word ringing clear. As well as showcasing his voice, this evening also provides a great opportunity for Frightened Rabbit’s candid, passionately physical lyrics to touch their audience.

Despite the band often being pegged as primarily folky – a brooding rural bunch of chaps standing on a desolate hill with the clouds rolling over ahead – their live sound is surprisingly forceful.

‘I Feel Better’ illustrates this early on as the drums crash like waves over the playful riff, amounting to a heartfelt, edgy and gritty result. Similarly, ‘The Twist’ adds a bit of fun at the end of the night, while recent single ‘The Loneliness and the Scream’, with its purposefully monotonous strums, illustrates the contradictions present in modern life.

Other tracks pulled off particularly well include the Twilight Sad-esque ‘Backwards Walk’, the no-nonsense ‘Keep Yourself Warm’, ‘Living in Colour’ and singalong centrepiece ‘Poke’, which is stunningly performed under a soft light by a lone Hutchison.

Overall, the band’s enthralled audience and tight performance tonight demonstrates an enviable level of musical accomplishment and lyrical maturity and makes promises for the future that they should have no trouble keeping.

Both sacred and profane, expect nothing less than close-to-the-bone, raw eloquence from Frightened Rabbit.

One response

26 11 2010
Live Review: Frightened Rabbit 21/11/2010 « CityLifers

[…] Frightened Rabbit : Live at Academy 2, Manchester 21/11/2010 […]

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