Tag Archives: Midnight Organ Fight


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.