Wow, just wow; if you want to see Frightened Rabbit then this is how you should see them.
A sweat lashed love between crowd and band in a packed iconic venue groaning and pulsating with the raw emotion delivered by the lyrics and music of one of Scotland’s finest bands at the absolute pinnacle of their powers.
Punters spew out into the gloom of the Glasgow night excited and drained in equal measure from Frightened Rabbit’s self proclaimed “office Christmas night out,” having experienced a gig that they won’t forget for some time.
Before the arrival of tonight’s heroes a healthy crowd have the pleasure of Be Charlotte and then PAWS.
Dundee three piece Be Charlotte is an intriguing young band with a unique sound that uses clever pedal loops and no guitar.
Pushing out a splendid blend of electro pop and Scottish hip hop it is clear by the size of the early crowd that many had turned up purposely to take them in.
It’s wonderfully hard to pigeon-hole their sound or compare them to other band, diminutive singer Charlotte Brimner spat sings and rapped out nine tracks to an appreciative audience with ‘Drawing Windows’ and, upcoming single, ‘One Drop’ being the standout songs.
The former, a melodic piano driven extravaganza with a full sound and thumping bassline complementing Brimner’s impressive vocal range and the later an out and out electro sound with a layered pedal loop and a partially rapped vocal.
Fantastically different and eminently enjoyable there is no doubt that this band will soon be filling venues like the Barras under their own steam.
A thrashing frantic 45-minutes of Atlantic punk follows with PAWS taking the stage and ramping up both the volume and pace, which barely drops during their set.
Dark and manic frontman Philip Taylor demands attention and the crowd lap up both his performance and his banter as he engages willingly with his home city audience, however no matter how enthusiastic the reception there is no doubting this is Frightened Rabbit’s crowd and the now packed room are delighted when Scott Hutchinson joins PAWS on stage to sing ‘Erruer Humaine’ from their 2014 album Youth Culture Forever.
Leaving a respectable gap to build anticipation to a palpable level Frightened Rabbit take the stage and fire straight into ‘Get Out’ from last release Painting of a Panic Attack.
A brilliant track to start the show and the devoted audience participate by singing, jostling and dancing to set the tone for the rest of the set.
Frontman Scott Hutchinson looks to be adulation thrown back towards the stage and engaged in affectionate banter with the crowd: “This is the last night of three at Glasgow so you either really love us or you left it late to buy tickets. What kind of crowd are you?” – “Ask yer maw!” This is a Glasgow crowd!
And it was one that was not to be disappointed as Frightened Rabbit explore all five studio albums in what is truly a show for the fans.
Rarely letting the pace drop the band are in excellent form with the excellent ‘Holy’, sombre ‘Wish I was Sober’ and ‘Living in Colour’ soon belted out amongst others leaving the audience in a strangle hold of ecstasy.
What follows is a 15 song set dripping with Frabbit classics with among the highlights ‘Swim Until You Can’t See Land’ and an absolutely spell binding version of ‘Things’ that is brought to an utterly show stopping crescendo of light and sound in a moment that could only be classed as close to a rock and roll moment as a Scottish indie folk band can get.
The Twilight Sad singer, James Graham then joins the band on stage to provide the vocal for a track before the band brings things down a notch for ‘Floating in the Forth’ and the wonderfully folky ‘Old Old Fashioned’.
The curtain is brought down with a rocking ‘Lump Street’, but the crowd want more and much stomping and cheering brings Hutchinson back on stage for an acoustic sing along of ‘Scottish Wind’, ’Snake ’and ‘My Backwards Walk’, before being joined by the full line up for ‘Woodpile’.
Crowd pleaser, ‘The Loneliness and the Scream’ is then performed by both Frabbit and PAWS to bring the show to a close.
The crowd want more though and refuse to budge hollering the chorus to previous song over and over until Hutchinson and co return for one last track.
A memorable sing along of ‘Keep Yourself Warm’ ensues before the lights come up and the grateful band leave stage and a happy crowd wandered out.
Get to see this bunch if you can, this was the musical highlight of 2016.
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Words: Peter Dorrington
Photos: Paul Storr