Tag Archives: Frightened Rabbit


Five Questions with Frightened Rabbit’s Scott Hutchison

May 26th, 2017

For more than a decade, Frightened RabbitScott Hutchison (vocals and guitar), brother Grant Hutchison (drums), Billy Kennedy (guitar and bass), Andy Monaghan (guitar and keys) and Simon Liddell (guitar)—have been making global noise on the strength of soaring, melancholic arena rock with resonant lyrics that stay with you. Since then, the Scottish rockers (above, doing “I Wish That I Was Sober” live for KTBG FM) have become as equally well known for their fiery live performances as for their recorded output. The band’s fifth LP, Painting of a Panic Attack (stream it below), which came out last spring, was produced by the National’s Aaron Dessner. “Though Hutchison’s talent for crafting beautifully dark stories hasn’t changed much, Frightened Rabbit’s sound most definitely has, thanks in part to Dessner behind the mixing desk,” said the Line of Best Fit. “The usual aching melancholy that has the capability to flip to captivating exuberance at a moment’s notice is ever present but Dessner’s experience with the National gives a whole new, often gloomy, depth to their sound.” Frightened Rabbit play Brooklyn Steel next Tuesday. And ahead of the band’s North American tour, The House List contacted the frontman to answer Five Questions.

Painting of a Panic Attack features electronics more than your other albums. Was that a conscious choice ahead of time or is that just the way things went as you wrote? I think we all wanted to move in that direction a little more with this album, but it wasn’t forced. Through necessity, I was figuring out how to use music software for the first time and exploring the raft of sounds held in Logic. Andy has always been interested in electronic music, so for him it was a natural place to go.

So many Frightened Rabbit songs are anthemic, somehow sounding like upbeat tales even when they’re about downer topics—not many bands could get crowds to lustily belt out lyrics about loneliness or “It takes more than fucking someone you don’t know to keep warm.” Is that something you set out to do? I’ve always been looking for that contrast within the songs. From very early on I knew I wanted the melodic qualities of the music to act like an open door, warm and welcoming, sometimes anthemic. Then once you’re in the room, you hear all these dark lines and it might be a little jarring, but we’ve already shut the door behind you. Ha!

What’s your process for recording new material? Is everything written and fleshed out in advance of going into the studio? Or do you just have sketches and ideas of songs ready to go? We’re usually relatively well prepared but recently we’ve enjoyed developing songs from rough sketches in the studio. Being overprepared or too certain of the songs can result in losing those little moments of studio magic. That’s our excuse for not knowing what the fuck we’re doing.

Once a track is recorded and released, does it stay like that in perpetuity, or do songs grow as you play them live? They always grow, they absolutely should. Often it’s just through boredom within the band, but sometimes the audience drives it forward. I never thought “The Loneliness and the Scream” would be a set-closer, but that had nothing to do with us. It was the crowds latching on to a melody and sticking with it. That was a surprise.

Do you have any crutches when writing a song—are there certain words or styles you feel you lean on too much? Absolutely. It’s a big danger and I’ve caught myself repeating themes again and again. However, I do think it’s important to develop your own world within the songs, and repeated lyrical themes are a big part of that. And the thing is: I am still a bit of a drunken failure. I’m not making it up. —R. Zizmor | @Hand_Dog


Frightened Rabbit Put on a Barn Burner at Terminal 5

May 6th, 2016

Frightened Rabbit – Terminal 5 – May 5, 2016

Frightened Rabbit - Terminal 5 - May 5, 2016
From the Department of Nobody Feels Sorry for You: I limped into Terminal 5 last night to see Frightened Rabbit banged up from a solid week of having too much fun and not enough sleep, unsure of how long I’d last. But then a funny thing happened on my way to find a place to lean. Watching the band take the stage in almost total darkness and open with a one-two punch of “Get Out,” off the just-released Painting of a Panic Attack, and “Holy,” from 2013’s Pedestrian Verse, I began to perk up thanks to their uplifting songs about downer topics. Five albums in, and Frightened Rabbit—Scott Hutchison (vocals and guitar) and brother Grant Hutchison (drums and vocals), plus Billy Kennedy (bass, guitar and keys), Andy Monaghan (guitar and keys) and Simon Liddell (guitar and keys)—now have a considerable catalog of passionately rambunctious anthems of heartache and pain, fighting and fucking, and, of course, getting fucked up. But it’s too many songs to play in one night.

“I don’t have whatever drugs Bruce Springsteen has. I can do a 90-minute show, maybe an hour-forty-five. I only have regular-person drugs,” said the affable frontman before the band launched into The Midnight Organ Fight’s “The Modern Leper.” It was the first time—but not the last—the packed crowd would enthusiastically sing along. And so, regardless of my disposition upon arrival, it was impossible to not get swept up in the building wave of emotion. Resistance was futile. I quickly surrendered, and then my lingering fog began to do the same. By the sixth song, “Living in Colour,” off The Winter of Mixed Drinks, shafts of blues and reds, and, later on, strobe lights, cracked through the darkness—my own and the venue’s—more clearly revealing a giant version of the new album’s cover as the stage backdrop. Throughout the performance, Scott Hutchison’s endearing chattiness, rolling Scottish brogue and easygoing comfort lent the show an intimacy despite the size of the room.

Although Frightened Rabbit didn’t play anything from their debut full-length, Sing the Greys, the set was an even mix of their other four albums. The newer stuff relies more on electronics than their previous material. So some songs featured three synths, like “Lump Street”—which proved to be one of the more jammed-out songs of the night—while others were driven by three guitars. And at the heart of the matter, that’s really what makes Frightened Rabbit go: the guitar. It’s soaring, melancholic arena rock with literary lyrics that stay with you. Not many bands could have nearly 3,000 people singing, “It takes more than fucking someone you don’t know to keep warm.” But there we were as the five-piece closed out the set with The Midnight Organ Fight’s “Keep Yourself Warm.” They quickly returned for a three-song encore: Scott doing a solo acoustic “Die Like a Rich Boy”—the line “Want to die like a rich boy/ Even if we’re as poor as we are now” eliciting hardy applause—and then full-band takes on “The Woodpile,” perhaps their most well-known tune, and “The Loneliness and the Scream,” the audience so lustily clapping, stomping and singing along, it felt more like an amped-up crowd at a rowdy soccer match. And so it was only fitting that live music, which had kept me out too late too many nights in a row, would rescue me in the end. —R. Zizmor | @Hand_Dog

Photos courtesy of Gregg Greenwood | gregggreenwood.com


Sing Along with Frightened Rabbit Tomorrow Night at Terminal 5

May 4th, 2016

It began as a solo project that soon enough blossomed into a family affair before becoming a full-fledged band. Scott Hutchison (vocals and guitar) launched Frightened Rabbit—his mom’s nickname for him thanks to his childhood shyness—as a stage name for his one-man shows in Southeastern Scotland more than a decade ago. The solo act became a duo when Scott’s brother, Grant Hutchison (drums and vocals), joined in 2004, and then Billy Kennedy (bass and guitar), came on two years later in time for the band’s promising debut full-length, Sing the Greys (stream it below). AllMusic said, “Sing the Greys isn’t a landmark album by any means, but it’s got all of the ingredients for a follow-up that kicks open the door instead of pushing it just enough to get a good look.” And that’s exactly what happened: With the release of each subsequent album, Frightened Rabbit (above, doing “Break” late in March at Rough Trade NYC for WFUV FM) have revealed more and more about their upbeat music about downer topics, or what Pitchfork dubbed “ramshackle anthems of heartbreak and hangovers.”

The A.V. Club called their acclaimed 2008 breakup album, The Midnight Organ Fight (stream it below), “the emotional apex of the Scottish band’s dark, terrific second album, which circles the drain of failed relationships and bad sex—and somehow finds sparks of hope in mountains of crushing hopelessness.” AllMusic, again, weighed in on 2010’s The Winter of Mixed Drinks (stream it below), “With each release, Frightened Rabbit’s music grows by leaps and bounds…. On The Winter of Mixed Drinks, they focus and polish Organ Fight’s epics—and add a healthy dose of optimism.” The rave reviews continued with 2013’s Pedestrian Verse (stream it below). “The result is a collection of stirring, instant anthems to get fists pumping in the air and swaying crowds singing along,” according to the Guardian. “Frontman Scott Hutchison—a tempest of a man whose voice may well have been crafted by yelling from the tops of mountains—has a gripping, literary style of lyric writing, and you can lose yourself in his dark, yet uplifting tales.”

The Glasgow-based band—now rounded out by Andy Monaghan (guitar and keys) and Simon Liddell (guitar)—released their fifth studio LP, the electronics-enhanced Painting of a Panic Attack (stream it below), produced by the National’s Aaron Dessner, just last month. “‘Evolution’ is a word that gets thrown around a lot in the music industry; bands are expected to grow with each release as stagnancy is frowned upon,” wrote Paste magazine. “Frightened Rabbit evolve the right way with this release, changing their sound, but not so much that they lose their trademark sound. This is still the Frightened Rabbit we all know and love, as gloomy as we last heard from them.” Plus, they’re still just as rowdy and rambunctious as ever when performing live, and they headline Terminal 5 tomorrow night. Local four-piece Caveman open the show.


Typhoon Bring Their Big, Joyous Sound to Webster Hall Tomorrow

March 26th, 2014

The orchestral-rock group Typhoon has a big sound matched by a big lineup. Kyle Morton (vocals and guitar), Alex Fitch (drums and vocals), Tyler Ferrin (horns and vocals), Devin Gallagher (ukulele and vocals), Dave Hall (guitar and vocals), Pieter Hilton (drums and vocals), Jen Hufnagel (violin and vocals), Ryan McAlpin (trumpet and vocals), Shannon Steele (violin and vocals), Eric Stipe (trumpet and vocals) and Toby Tanabe (bass and vocals) make crescendo-building anthemic music reminiscent of bands like Arcade Fire and Frightened Rabbit. Typhoon (above, playing “Young Fathers” for WGBH) have put
out a pair of EPs and a pair of LPs, including, White Lighter (stream it below), released
last fall. AllMusic weighed in: “Morton and company take frequent leaps of faith, punching holes in the indie-pop template with enough melodic left turns, odd time signatures and complex breakdowns to lure a few unsuspecting prog-rock fans into the fold. That said,
this is fist-pumping, NPR-loving, heartfelt arena pop through and through, with highlights arriving via immaculately crafted mini-epics.” Find yourself singing along when this Portland, Ore., music collective plays Webster Hall tomorrow night.


We Were Promised Jetpacks Raise the Roof at Webster Hall

March 10th, 2014

We Are Jetpacks – Webster Hall – March 8, 2014

We Are Jetpacks – Webster Hall – March 8, 2014
Don’t let the ceiling at Webster Hall fool you: If you look closely enough you’ll see that the rafters have another 20 or so feet above them before the ceiling actually appears. And on a night like Saturday, when the boisterous crowd so loudly and consistently joined We Were Promised Jetpacks in belting out seemingly every verse and chorus, it was easy to hear evidence of that extra space.

In what was their biggest headlining show ever, the Scottish rockers’ performance served two big purposes throughout the night. The first was reuniting with local fans—they’d already made a name for themselves in New York City after touring with Frightened Rabbit five years ago, but We Were Promised Jetpacks have played here sparingly ever since. The second purpose was to debut new material from a forthcoming third album (although no release date has been set). Of course the old songs on display remained as good as ever, which comes as no surprise considering the incredible one-two punch of albums the band debuted with in These Four Walls and In the Pit of the Stomach. Heavy fuzz surrounded every catchy melody, and those were usually preceded or proceeded by some big chorus that involved singer Adam Thompson literally backing away from the microphone because of how loud he belted out the lyrics.

The five-piece’s best songs can be speedy, arena-ready sing-alongs like “Quiet Little Voices” or deeper, darker tracks with car-crash decelerations in them, like “Human Error” and its epic ending. This versatility branched out in wild directions during the few new songs they played, during which they abandoned much of the guitar distortion and focused more on showcasing their heady melodies. The few they played sounded more cleverly written than anything We Were Promised Jetpacks have released to date, and while the New York City fans certainly showed they were thrilled that the band was back, Saturday’s show left many of them focused on what’s to come. —Sean O’Kane

Photos courtesy of Greg Pallante | gregpallante.com


We Were Promised Jetpacks Land at Webster Hall Tomorrow

March 7th, 2014

The Scottish quintet We Were Promised Jetpacks—Adam Thompson (vocals and guitar), Darren Lackie (drums and vocals), Stuart McGachan (keys, guitar and vocals), Michael Palmer (guitar) and Sean Smith (bass)—formed in Edinburgh more than a decade ago when they played a battle-of-the-bands contest in high school. Upon graduation they moved to Glasgow and began working on their sound and live show. Following a 2008 tour with Frightened Rabbit, We Were Promised Jetpacks (above, performing “Quiet Little Voices” for MoshCam) released their debut LP, the post-punk- and pop-filled These Four Walls (stream it below), to acclaim in 2009. A second full-length, also well received, In the Pit of the Stomach (stream it below), followed two years later. And as they continued touring, sharpening their stage presence and working on their live performances, the five-piece has become an energetic band not to miss. They recently released a live album, E Rey (Live in Philadelphia) (stream it below), chronicling the final performance on their 2012 tour. And they play Webster Hall tomorrow night.


Sometimes Salvation

October 28th, 2013

Frightened Rabbit/Augustines – Webster Hall – October 25, 2013

Frightened Rabbit and Augustines are nearly mirror images of each other: one Scottish, one raised in the wilds of Brooklyn, each driven to find salvation in ripping guitar-drum-and-bass rock songs. Augustines frontman Billy McCarthy, who is leading the third iteration of the band once known as Pela and then We Are Augustines before landing on their current nomenclature, admitted as much at a sold-out Webster Hall on Friday night, when they opened for their Scottish counterparts. “I’m gonna miss them so goddamn much,” warbled McCarthy about Frightened Rabbit in his trademark gravel-flecked baritone. The parallels were obvious under the sweeping stage lights, both groups pitting themselves firmly against the forces of modernity, trying to recapture a world of unfiltered misery and saviors, a time when people loved people enough to be destroyed by them.

There wasn’t an ounce of irony in either band. Augustines played “Cruel City,” a song about being miserable in New York City, and the single from their upcoming second full-length, and McCarthy yelled, “That was for you!” to wild applause. The audience didn’t exactly come for misery, but rather to experience the redemptive power of an emotive past, to bathe in the pain of others for whatever that would be worth. As if unifying their purpose, Scott Hutchinson, lead singer of Frightened Rabbit, joined Augustines on “Headlong into the Abyss,” a song that either band could have penned.

Frightened Rabbit took the stage backed by their monstrous half-crucifix-half-telephone-poll backdrop that has become the band’s iconography. While the saving was strictly lyrical, a fan in the 10th row stared down Hutchinson and mouthed every word to the opener, “Holy,” seemingly unaware of the other 1,500 people in attendance. Frightened Rabbit followed the tune about divinity and personal failings with “Modern Leper,” another vaguely biblical reference and the song that broke the band firmly into mainstream indie rock six years ago.

The band sounded explosive and tight, marching through “Nothing Like You” and “Living in Colour” before playing one of their first releases, “Old Old Fashioned.” “This is a dancing song,” said Hutchinson, the arrangement’s sea-shanty chord progression erupting from the fret board on his guitar. Of course, it wasn’t just a dancing song—it was about getting back to an old, lost world, a song about waltzing around the living room with a woman who might well hold the power to make you utterly miserable. The redemption would be in older patterns. Frightened Rabbit then played “December’s Traditions,” about the exacting power and misery of these yearly rituals. It wouldn’t even matter that Hutchinson climbed into the venue’s balcony late in the set, because Frightened Rabbit
and Augustines had already crawled backward in search of salvation in something old. —Geoff Nelson

Photos courtesy of Sean O’Kane | seanokanephoto.com


Try to Win October Season Tickets

October 3rd, 2013

We’re teaming up with the good people at SPIN to offer one lucky winner a pair of tickets to six great shows this month: Unknown Mortal Orchestra at The Bowery Ballroom on 10/11, the Dismemberment Plan with Wild Cub at Terminal 5 on 10/18, Foxygen at Music Hall of Williamsburg on 10/22, Toro y Moi at Terminal 5 on 10/23, Frightened Rabbit at Webster Hall on 10/24 and Holy Ghost! at Terminal 5 on 10/31. You must be at least 18 to win, and we’ll choose a winner after noon on 10/10. Click for a chance to win.


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


Grow a Pair: Win Free Tickets to See Frightened Rabbit on 4/4

April 2nd, 2013


Frightened Rabbit’s terrific fourth album, Pedestrian Verse, came out about two months ago, and the Scottish five-piece is now crisscrossing the globe in support of it. They land in our part of the world to play a sold-out show at Terminal 5 on Thursday night. But if you don’t have tickets, you still have one more chance because The House List is giving away two of them. Want to go? Try to Grow a Pair. It’s easy, and you gotta play to win. So fill out the form below, making sure to include your full name, e-mail address, which show you’re trying to win tickets to (Frightened Rabbit, 4/4) and a brief message explaining why you’re happy April has begun. Eddie Bruiser, who’s convinced his allergies have already kicked in, will notify the winner by Thursday. Good luck.

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)


Your Message


Frightened Rabbit Leaves Them Wanting More

August 4th, 2011

Frightened Rabbit – Music Hall of Williamsburg – August 3, 2011

The sold-out crowd at Music Hall of Williamsburg was getting antsy waiting for Glasgow’s Frightened Rabbit to start last night. Walking onstage to cries of “New York loves you!” the group smiled and dove into the first song of the night, “Modern Leper,” off their second album, 2008’s The Midnight Organ Flight. Lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist Scott Hutchinson laughed as he said, “Cheers,” and then proceeded to prepare his audience for a long one. “I hope none of you guys are in a rush to get home tonight ’cause we’re gonna play a lot of songs.” He wasn’t lying, gifting fans with nearly two hours of solid music.

The group—Hutchinson, his brother Grant (drums), Billy Kennedy (bass and guitar), Andy Monaghan (guitar) and Gordon Skene (guitar and keys)—manages to have a full sound without being too dramatic or overpowering. There can be as many as four guitars sounding off at once, melding together with keys and drums, yet it somehow works. If you blink for just a second, you’d miss Kennedy switching from bass to guitar or Monaghan and Skene completely changing spots so they can rock on a different instrument.

Scott admits he’s “shitting himself” as Frightened Rabbit experiments with the new song “Dead Now,” which they’ve only played once before and are not even sure will make the new album. The tune should make it considering how catchy and clever the lyrics are. The music builds up to break down to build back up again, kind of like in “Good Arms vs. Bad Arms.” The ballad begins with just voice and streaming guitars and pedals, creating a peaceful feel. Then suddenly it’s just two guitars continuing and then bam! the drums are back. It’s a jam and then it all abruptly stops. At one point, the frontman, left completely alone onstage, carried on unplugged, which the audience loved. When his bandmates returned, they ended the night with the powerful “The Loneliness and the Scream.” The crowd was hesitant to leave, most likely wishing for another two hours of Frightened Rabbit. —Kristen Ferreira


See Josh Ritter & the Royal City Band (Plus Scott Hutchison) Tomorrow

February 11th, 2011

Growing up in Idaho, Josh Ritter heard the Bob Dylan/Johnny Cash version of “Girl from the North Country” on his parents’ copy of Nashville Skyline and knew he wanted to become a songwriter. Some dreams do come true, because years later, Ritter was named one of the 100 Greatest Living Songwriters by Paste magazine. The folk-leaning singer-songwriter has earned favorable comparisons to Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and Leonard Cohen (or as Mary-Louise Parker says, he “is usually compared to the legends, the ones you have been listening to since you were 15, the ones you love most”), and he’s put out a considerable amount of material on EPs and full-length albums. The most recent of which, So Runs the World Away, came out last year, and Josh Ritter (above, playing “The Temptation of Adam” at last month’s Sundance Film Festival) has been touring with the Royal City Band ever since. See them with Frightened Rabbit frontman Scott Hutchison (below, doing “My Backwards Walk”) at Terminal 5 tomorrow night.


Grow a Pair: Win Free Tickets to See Josh Ritter on 2/12

February 8th, 2011


Josh Ritter & the Royal City Band—along with Frightened Rabbit’s Scott Hutchison—are coming to town for a pre-Valentine’s Day show at Terminal 5 on Saturday. And if you’d like to go but don’t have tickets try to Grow a Pair from The House List. It’s easy. Just fill out the form below, including your full name, e-mail address, which show you’re trying to win tickets to (Josh Ritter, 2/12) and a brief message explaining why Valentine’s Day is or isn’t important to you. Eddie Bruiser, not necessarily a believer, will notify the winner by Friday. Good luck.

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)


Your Message


Frightened Rabbit – Terminal 5 – October 30, 2010

November 1st, 2010

Frightened Rabbit - Terminal 5 - October 30, 2010

Photos courtesy of Sean O’Kane | seanokanephoto.com