Pics & Review – Annette Geneva
Frightened Rabbit have finally made it back to Australia after their three year absence. Their long anticipated east coast tour has almost SOLD OUT and their fan base has substantially grown since their 2014 string of shows.
Painting of a Panic Attack the bands fifth studio album seemed more polite and more mainstream to me, compared to their earlier scruffy indie-rock tunes, so I expected the show to be more subtle. However, night one of their two sold out shows at Oxford Art Factory proved me wrong.
As the band took to the stage accompanied with newish guitarist Simon Liddell and minus Gordon Skene the lights flashed and the chaos of the packed out venue forced me closer to the stage. Starting their set with Get Out from the new record the band then progressed into a more classic song, Holy from their 2013 album Pedestrian Verse followed by a much older fan favourite Modern Leper from 2008 classic The Midnight Organ Fight. These three strong openers not only encouraged the crowd to loudly sing along, but also dance and push and spill their drinks, which most likely weren’t Scottish whiskey.
Frontman Scott Hutchison was as sarcastic and comical as he’s ever been and the crowd loved him for that. The craft of writing uplifting melodies with an array of layered instruments and combining it with the most heart-wrenching, honest lyrics possible is nothing short of genius. As the vibe had gotten a bit messy, Hutchison addressed one of the fans who yelled out “Where are your shorts?”. Mocking his own cynicism he delivered a stand up comedy worthy comment and a warning : “We are not going to play your favourite song or even your second favourite song, hopefully you’ll learn from that.” Which also squeezed a chuckle from the punters.
Hit song by hit song, the band played dance floor darling Woke Up Hurting and holding up a can of alcohol Hutchison ironically belted out I Wish I Was Sober. Check out the heart wrenching music videos below after having a read.
Living In Colour off 2010’s The Winter Of Mixed Drinks is one of my favourite songs and probably the most uplifting tune the band ever released, which makes me love it even more! I do quite enjoy watching Grant Hutchison’s facial expressions during this song or in fact any other song! He continued to pull the best and most intense grimaces throughout Head Rolls Off.
Fast Blood and Little Drum made their way into the setlist right before heavy-hearted Blood Under the Bridge and a brit-pop sounding, upbeat hipster dance track Nothing Like You, which if not for Hutchison’s classic dark lyrics, could’ve been mistaken for a Snow Patrol song. The setlist got so close to perfection with those kicks in Old Old Fashioned which always seems so much more fast-paced live. Oil Slick from Pedestrian Verse with it’s awesome bass lines and backing vocals pointed out older fans in the crowd who were nodding and singing along at the back of the venue, even though it’s such a self-loathing track : “Only an idiot would swim through the shit I write. How can I talk of life and warmth?” The Scottish Lads close with Lump Street before leading into the encore.
Still thirsty for more, the crowd beckons with chanting and applause. Death Dream doesn’t tell me anything that the album title hasn’t already, but Andy Monaghan’s keys and Hutchinson’s soft melancholic vocals stay lingering in your head for hours after hearing the song. The crowd absolutely adore this song and Hutchison takes the chance to thank everybody for choosing Frightened Rabbit over Adele who was performing on the other side of town.
“Take that Adele!”
Woodpile is an edgy song with a folk backbone which is somewhat of a Biffy Clyro/Mumford and Sons lovechild and seems to be everyones favourite song. “Come find me now, where I hide and we’ll speak in our secret tongues”. If this was the first song you ever heard from Frightened Rabbit you’d certainly progress into being a fan.
Closing their set with Loneliness & the Scream off 2010’s The Winter of Mixed Drinks basically sums up everything the band are about. Played live, this song would definitely rank high on every fans list, not just because people clap along with the beat and sing along to all the “oh’s” but also because it’s painfully relevant to absolutely everyone : “And the scream to prove/ To everyone/ That I exist.”
Although songs like State Hospital, Poke and particularly explicit Keep Yourself Warm were dearly missed from the setlist and I doubt I’ll never hear Architect live unless I am lucky enough to catch a Frightened Rabbit and Manchester Orchestra double headliner show, I really enjoyed hearing the guys live again and applaud their consistency as a band – they are all exceptional musicians.