Tag Archives: R. Zizmor

cat_preview

Frightened Rabbit Celebrate a Milestone Anniversary in Williamsburg

February 26th, 2018

Frightened Rabbit – Music Hall of Williamsburg – February 24, 2018

Photos courtesy of Silvia Saponaro | www.saponarophotography.com

After their first LP, Sing the Greys, didn’t make a lot of noise, Frightened Rabbit’s breakthrough release, The Midnight Organ Fight, arrived a decade ago as a low-key masterpiece of a breakup album. Without any marketing push, its tales of love lost, failure and self-loathing slowly spread by word-of-mouth. Each song a lonely, emotional gut punch that doubles as a catchy, danceable earworm. The raw, vulnerable words sound so intimate through headphones in a solitary listen but when heard live bloom into a big communal catharsis amidst a flurry of guitars and onlookers belting out dark lyrics—like “I think I’ll save suicide for another day” or “It takes more than fucking someone you don’t know to keep warm”—like they’re the only ones in the room.

Celebrating The Midnight Organ Fight’s 10th anniversary, the Scottish five-piece—Scott Hutchison (vocals and guitar), Grant Hutchison (drums and vocals), Billy Kennedy (bass, keys and vocals), Andy Monaghan (guitar and keys) and Simon Liddell (guitar and keys)—rolled into Brooklyn on Saturday to perform it in order. But first they did four songs from other albums, including The Winter of Mixed Drinks“Swim Until You Can’t See Land,” which earned the night’s first hoots and hollers. The loud crowd eagerly sang along to Organ Fight’s opener, “Modern Leper,” drinks held aloft at “You must be a masochist.” The affable frontman’s Glaswegian-accented banter had everyone listening with rapt attention between songs, and at times he conducted the crowd with his hand and guitar. “You guys are fucking great. Thank you for this. It’s amazing how happy a sad album can make you,” he said, laughingly adding, “but to each their own.”

After spirited takes on “My Backwards Walk” and “Keep Yourself Warm,” plus the album’s second short instrumental, “Extrasupervery,” done in darkness onstage, the singer did a solo take on the evocative “Poke” with everyone in the room singing at full volume. The full band returned for “Floating in the Forth” and “Who’d You Kill Now?”—“In a normal live show we wouldn’t be so stupid as to put these songs together,” said Scott—to finish The Midnight Organ Fight. After a short break, they returned for a three-song encore, capped off by The Winter of Mixed Drinks“The Loneliness and the Scream” and its stomping, clapping, sing-along finale. It was the kind of shared personal experience you hope for every time you leave the house to see a band. —R. Zizmor | @Hand_Dog

cat_preview

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