Frightened Rabbit, James Murphy
Ross Cunningham 21/09/2008
Wandering into The Caves in Edinburgh last Sunday night I felt like an absolute zombie. A heavy drunken night out on Saturday in Glasgow combined with the hangover shift from hell on Sunday morning had left me feeling a little bit fragile to say the least. One thing that I knew would make me feel (cough, cough) “Better” however was a live set from the unmistakable Frightened Rabbit. It was the second gig of the new Tennents Mutual season and the night was to be headlined by a DJ set from James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem fame, but for me the night was only really about one band (partially due to my zombiefied state). At around ten to ten Frightened Rabbit appeared on the instrument-laden stage and were welcomed by a swarming crowd which had seemed to push forward and multiply since the previous band. A few shouts of “Mon The Rabbit” could be heard as Scott introduced the band and catapulted into their new single “I Feel Better”. Live the band explodes with raw vibrant energy and it funnelled up into the high arched stone ceilings of The Caves coming thundering back down to the packed audience.
Always one to have a bit of banter with the fans during a set Scott told us a story about the perils of trying to take a small keyboard onto a flight. Supposedly a threat to security he said by the end of the argument he wanted to pick the keyboard up and smash it into a million pieces over his knee, ending with a “as if I could do that” (I like to think he could if he really wanted to). The songs translate to a live setting effortlessly with a sing-a-long moment in almost everyone. Whether it's the “Ohh's” in “Good Arms Vs Bad Arms” or the all out shout the house down chants in “Keep Yourself Warm” the ability to make a connection with the audience in that way is a priceless weapon to have in your arsenal. Frightened Rabbit have what far too many bands these days are sadly lacking, songs that have lyrics with meaning and feeling rather than for example a bunch of Beatles references pieced together with the word love thrown in for good measure
You can tell how passionate Scott is about the music by how animated he becomes when singing, moving back from the microphone and screaming and straining his voice in songs like “Square 9”and “Fast Blood”. Before playing live favourite “The Modern Leper” another chat ensued this time relating to them being in either Aberdeen or Dundee, “one of those weird places” (Scott's words not mine) and someone randomly starting the chant of “Billy get yer cock out, Billy get yer cock out”. Somewhat inevitably the room then in unison started to blast it at the poor guitarist yet again which he took in good humour.
Another thing that has to be said about the band live is that Grant Huchison's drumming is absolutely out of this world. The sheer ferocity and power that he hits the drums with is mesmerising to watch, also he has some of the best facial expressions about, or as I like to call it “drummerface”. They brought the night to a close with the anti-drunken one night stand anthem (there's a good message in there kids) “Keep Yourself Warm”. The crowd changed into a choir of two hundred voices shouting the chorus back at the band with Scott conducting it all perfectly with a big smile on his face. As they disappeared off the stage through the side door a chant for “one more tune” instantly went up, but they were never going to play anything after a great moment like that. Take the chance to go and see Frightened Rabbit in an intimate venue near you soon I guarantee you won't be disappointed by a single second.