Live Review

Frightened Rabbit, Boston Arms, London

10th March 2016

A mark of how far the band have come.

A Glasgow show two nights ago aside, tonight is Frightened Rabbit’s first gig for two years, and first in London since they triumphed at Brixton Academy. Easing themselves back in with a not-so-secret gig under the name Footshooters, it’s like the band never knew how much they were missed.

For every insight into the upcoming ‘Painting Of A Panic Attack’, there’s a dearly beloved older song to join it, with ‘The Modern Leper’ and ‘Living In Colour’ greeted like old companions.

We’re barely seconds in when Scott Hutchison’s labelling a heckler a “work toilet masturbator” and quipping back at every request for every Frightened Rabbit song under the sun, labelling 2006 debut ‘Sing The Greys’ “shit” in the process. Far from abandoning their old material - songs from 2008’s ‘The Midnight Organ Fight’ are still performed with the gut-busting passion they were conceived with - it’s a mark of how far the band have come, with older songs gaining new layers, louder choruses and a ton more bite, with keys and synthetic drums featuring heavily on songs from ‘Painting Of A Panic Attack’.

There’s still drinking songs, as Scott points out before ‘I Wish I Was Sober’, still crushing, bare-bones acoustic numbers (‘Die Like A Rich Boy’), still the euphoric choruses of ‘Pedestrian Verse’ (‘Get Out’), and while seeming like Frightened Rabbit’s most airy, experimental album, their grit hasn’t gone anywhere on the songs aired from ‘Painting…’.

Closer ‘Lump Street’ feels like a genuine anthem, and flows with a visceral energy that can likely be traced back to ‘Painting…”s producer, The National’s Aaron Dessner, with the track feeling more than a little ‘High Violet’-esque.

‘Pedestrian Verse’ was Frightened Rabbit’s biggest album yet, and took them to rooms they never dreamed of filling, and the band’s anthems for the miserable feel as potent and affecting here as they did in those big concert halls. Their last album did the hard work, and tonight shows Frightened Rabbit starting to look content to live in the world they’ve built for themselves, wherever ‘Painting Of A Panic Attack’ might take them.

Photos: Robin Pope

Tags: Frightened Rabbit, Reviews, Live Reviews

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