This review originally ran in The Herald Newspaper (Scotland) on November 18, 2013.
02 Academy, Glasgow
Perhaps a billion Chinese people can be wrong, after all. According to their zodiac calendar, 2013 is the year of the snake, but countless fans of Scottish pop will assure you this has been the year of the Frabbit.
This affectionate portmanteau of Frightened Rabbit has grown in usage as the band’s profile has escalated from grassroots heartbreakers to national saviours – as testified their recent Top 10 album, Pedestrian Verse, and reinforced by this sold-out homecoming gig that had even the balcony roaring on its feet from the off.
Always a band to let their music do the talking, this thrilling, no-frills show was packed with Scottish indie sing-a-longs and melodic alt-rock anthems, generously drawing from Frightened Rabbit’s 2008 magnum opus The Midnight Organ Fight (Head Rolls Off, Old Old Fashioned, an ecstatic encore of Keep Yourself Warm) and the excellent Pedestrian Verse (The Woodpile, December’s Traditions, The Oil Slick).
A phenomenal opening one-two of current favourite Holy and 2008’s The Modern Leper established the night’s celebratory tone, and drew new lines between familiar songs (see also 2008’s Fast Blood and last year’s State Hospital), underscoring the consistency of frontman Scott Hutchison’s exceptional songwriting, (anti-) religious idiom and forceful, fallible lyricism.
Their lighting and stage set were not showy, but they pulled dramatic punches – the climax of My Backwards Walk was literally blinding. And despite the stowed-out size of the room, it felt intimate – a sense enhanced by a solo acoustic interlude that included Floating in the Forth, and an almighty collective hush for the falsetto contrition of Acts of Man, which saw Hutchison quietly, cautiously sing, “I’m not heroic, but I try.” Oh, but he is.
Related articles: Frightened Rabbit interview (Sunday Herald, Jan 2013).