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- Frightened Rabbit »
Crowds, though they are an act's bread and butter, can be deadening. The greatest performance can be ignored, the worst can be valorised and the initially horrific can be buoyed and lifted into tainted genius by negative reaction. There's a lot in a crowd.
The Bloomsbury Bowling Lanes should probably employ some sort of surf band, or a Buddy Holly tribute act, or something to accompany the clatter of pins and the revolve of the balls' return. The ideal soundtrack to these noises and activities is not the most earnestly smacked band in Scotland at the moment. Still, they hammer on, opening with 'Fast Blood' and its unrelenting focus on the sexual act, The Midnight Organ Fight. It’s not received particularly well, but it's just stinkingly honest and excellent.
It continues, with Scott Hutchison's stories and delivery the undoubted star. It's an example of the reason why most people shouldn't bother getting involved with music – through the indifference of the audience, Frightened Rabbit conjure more vigour and bitterness, every drum and string tightly thwacked rather than indifferently ignored. Even for the dreamy (but still horribly personal and accurate) tripping ballad of 'Good Arms Vs. Bad Arms' is delivered with more sweat on the floor than Gordon Brown on the exact same night.
The greatest moment comes when a photographer, presumably not expecting anything more than indie hype-receivers to ignore the camera and look… y'know… rock, stands rather too close to Scott Hutchison. The flash doesn't distract him, but he senses the irony of being photographed at a gig where not many people are too interested and shoots back some James Dean into the lens, the menace of which is more than a little bit frightening. The sweat still pounds the floor.
The issue with tonight is that it's just not massively enjoyable. Frightened Rabbit's performance is excellent, taut, emotional and, most importantly, very earnest. The songs are played fantastically well, the stuff on the second album is, as we all should know, super, despite the quite horrible sound quality. The lack of enjoyment stems from this unsatisfying sound and the general indifference rather than the performance itself, so it's a bit of a confusing one to sum up in four hundred words, yeah? So sorry. Frightened Rabbit are really bright and a real hope for the coming years, but the night lets them down.
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