Live Review

Frightened Rabbit, Brixton Academy, London

The band’s back catalogue grows impressively into the space.

There’s a moment halfway through tonight’s show that beautifully illustrates the course that Frightened Rabbit have navigated, through the treacherous waters of increased exposure and acclaim. Bearded frontman Scott Hutchison shuffles to the lip of the stage, his bandmates having temporarily deserted him for the no doubt rider-rich comforts of the green room, and he treats the Brixton audience to a stunning acoustic rendition (read: no microphones whatsoever) of the darkly reflective ‘Floating in the Forth’. It’s a beautiful moment as the capacity Brixton crowd is pin-drop silent for a man’s ode to hope in the face of hopelessness, and particularly poignant as in a stroke it shows where Frightened Rabbit are now - able to flirt with arena stardom while retaining an uncanny and possibly unparalleled ability to create intimacy in the most cavernous of settings.

Tonight’s eagerly lapped up set sees tracks drawn from their past three albums tossed out to a hugely receptive audience but it’s songs from breakthrough record ‘The Midnight Organ Fight’ that go down the best: ‘Fast Blood’ and ‘Modern Leper’ are veritable jump-along anthems while the religion-musing ‘Heads Roll Off’ and cautionary confessional ‘Keep Yourself Warm’ are roared back with aplomb. Rather than occupying the same slightly-claustrophobic, slightly-comforting space they hold on record, the band’s back catalogue grows impressively into the space. The band are visibly delighted too, thanking their largest-ever audience with genuine grins.

If there’s a (minor) quibble it’s that the set lasts ever so slightly too long; knocking on the door of two hours, that’s a lot to take even for the most steadfastly fastidious of fans. That said, at the one point during proceedings where they do make an ever so slight lead towards indulgence, they quickly rein themselves in with a stunning duet of ‘Fuck This Place’ between Hutchison and support act Lanterns on the Lake’s vocalist Hazel Wilde.

Frightened Rabbit are at the top of their game tonight and on this form, nobody would dare discount them from making jaws hit floor at a megadome near you sometime soon.

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