Sunday, 10 November 2013

LIVE: Frightened Rabbit, O2 Academy BRIXTON.

I'm sure people are sick of this anecdote by now but in March 2010 I ventured to the West End Centre in Aldershot to see a relatively unknown Scottish band, who'd just released their third studio album. Obviously the title slightly gives away that this was - of course - Frightened Rabbit, who at the time could only dream of where they'd be at 21:20 on this cold Friday evening; Just stepping onto the stage to headline Brixton Academy. On Wednesday and Thursday the stage was graced by Oli Sykes and his Bring Me The Horizon gang, before Major Lazer takes over the venue on Saturday night. This isn't playing to 300 people in squaddie-town any more.

Tonight then, off the back off top-10 album 'Pedestrian Verse', is the Glaswegian quintet's cliched coming-of-age.  This has been such a long time in coming ever since 2008's 'The Midnight Organ Fight' was heralded by pretty much everybody. The most recent record saw them wade over to Atlantic Records, which proved the decisive spark that caused the bands' explosion into the UK mainstream.

'Holy' immediately has the crowd's attention, and 'FRabbit' crowds aren't renowned for being particularly raucous but tonight they're all singing along and there's exactly the right amount of movement, plus the occasional pogo at Scott's request. The token 'Sing The Greys' track 'Music Now', more than anything else, really shows how far their songwriting talents have come. The poignant duo of 'Nitrous Gas'  and 'Fuck This Place', complete with guest vocals from Laterns on the Lake's Hazel Wilde, could reduce the hardest man to tears, and that's without them being followed by an unplugged version of 'Floating in the Forth'.  I was always sceptical about using 'The Loneliness and The Scream' as a closer to the set but nothing will ever beat the entire crowd singing along to the gang vocals at the end, and it put one of the biggest smiles on my face so I really can't complain.

Frightened Rabbit's live show has been a little suspect in the past but in the last year they've really upped their game, and tonight is a culmination of so many things that it's completely appropriate that tonight is probably one of their best performances. Scottish music as a whole is at the top of it's game right now, and it really bodes the question how far can FRabbit go?

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