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Frightened Rabbit Leave ’Em Wanting More

April 5th, 2013

Frightened Rabbit – Terminal 5 – April 4, 2013


In the span of just three years, Scotland’s Frightened Rabbit have gone from performing in basement-sized venues to commanding audiences of thousands each time they play in New York City, and after last night’s sold-out show at Terminal 5, it isn’t hard to understand why. In front of what singer Scott Hutchison said was the biggest crowd they had played to in America, the sweet-sounding rock band from Glasgow showed that it wasn’t just the venues that have grown in that time. The band jumped right into showing off their more refined and expansive sound, which is featured on their newest album, Pedestrian Verse (the artwork of which inspired the towering backdrops onstage).

Gone in the newer material was the hyperfocus on Scott Hutchison and his more vulnerable style of singing and songwriting, as it was replaced by a shared load in the vocals—the band often sang three- and even four-wide, including the drummer, Hutchison’s brother Grant. This tonal shift in their sound was perfectly echoed when, following a small stretch of songs performed solo, Scott began “Good Arms vs. Bad Arms” as the rest of the band returned to the stage to a howling crowd for a dynamic finish. With all the extra drum hits, vocal swells and Americana tinges, it would be easy to fall into a trap of pegging Frightened Rabbit’s sonic shift as one toward becoming a folk band, but there were multiple moments that proved that theory wrong, like during the distorted-guitar, strobe-light-backed shredder “Acts of Man,” with which they wrapped the first set.

Other songs on Pedestrian Verse deal with acceptance of change, of growing up and of wanting to be someone new with someone else. Fitting, since Hutchison had joked at the start that he wanted those in the crowd to meet their neighbors and that by the end he wanted “marriages and babies” from them. And while there were no impending nuptials, Frightened Rabbit’s NYC audience had finished its massive evolution. After the band encored with “Living in Colour,” the fans stayed put, belting out and repeating the entire line of “whoa-ohs” that were sung during the song. And even though the band didn’t return, surely no one left with any doubt that they’ll be back. —Sean O’Kane

Photos courtesy of Sean O’Kane | seanokanephoto.com