Additional Note: I started writing this Blog post back in March after I had seen Frightened Rabbit but due to a busy University schedule, I was unable to finish it. In light of the death of lead singer Scott Hutchison on 10th May 2018, this gig has now a high sentimental value and score has been amended with a justification.
Frightened Rabbit… where do I start?
I was first introduced to this 5 piece from Selkirk back in 2008 when there was bubbling chatter from a group of my friends at school who had seen Death Cab for Cutie and couldn’t stop talking about “the best warm up act they had ever seen”. I was instantly curious and started trawling MySpace (remember that thing?) and YouTube to hear what all the hype was about. I listened to their debut album, Sing the Greys and was instantly hooked on their sound. When it came to light they were playing at Fat Sam’s in Dundee, it was imperative that I saw them. Nearly 10 years on and several times seeing them later, the evening was a celebration of how far we all have come as FRabbit fans.
Midnight Organ received critical acclaim upon its release in 2008, with 80/100 score on Metacritic and NME included it in its Greatest Albums of the Decade article and by some critics, cited as a “completely flawless indie-pop record”. Each lyric is poignant and was just as heartfelt when it was delivered as it was originally conveyed at the 2008 tour.
Almost 10 years on from being in the front row as a dewy-eyed 17 year old listening to Scott Hutchinson’s stories of heartbreak, looking for salvation in the bottom of a glass and colourful nights, I think we both can look back on the decade with a bittersweet nostalgia and definitely have a few wrinkles to show for it!
The warm up act before the show was forgettable, a wannabe Oasis tribute band who sang some diet coke generic songs but were concordant nonetheless. Frightened Rabbit came on stage in a timely manner, ensuring that the audience would hear their packed 19 song setlist. They started with 4 songs from their other albums. The lively tempo of ‘Living with colour’ saw the audience jumping at an instant, including those seated in the balcony stood up to greet the band as they came on stage. This was followed by other hits such as ‘Holy’, ‘Swim if you can’t see land’ and ‘I wish I sober’. This was the perfect introduction to prepare the audience for what was in store for the night. After some genuine dialogue to the audience by Scott, thanking the fan for being with them on their journey, particularly in the last 10 years, they launched into playing their album ‘Midnight Organ Fight’ in its entirety.
We started off with the iconic introduction of ‘The Modern Leper’ to which the audience started singing with full volume, a fair amount of the audience who were next to me had their eyes closed and singing from their souls as if they were reliving teenage heartbreak all over again. The singing throughout the evening from the audience wasn’t in tune from the audience but every lyric was felt with emotion as we all united and celebrated our journeys of the last decade. The energy did not dip throughout the entire concert as each song progressed to the next like the tracks on the album of our youth. The audience left the venue half-singing ‘The Twist’ and ‘Head Roll off’ as they wandered to the subway station or towards their cars, with the linger of blurred lyrics through the streets.
I originally gave this gig a 4.5/5 but in light seeing the band’s reaction to the crowd and being overcome with emotion in their performance and it now being not only their last home gig but their last ever gig, I have to give it 5/5. Having seen this band three times, I cannot believe I will never hear those raw vocals again. This was by far their best gig out of all the ones I have been to of theirs and is one I will hold close to my heart.
The emotion and connection between the band and the crowd was intense and is now a bitter-sweet send off for Scott and his FRabbit farewell.
“Is there peace beneath
The roar of the Forth road bridge?
On the Northern side
There’s a Fife of mine
And a boat in the port for me”
– Floating Down to Forth
Upon hearing the news of Scott’s passing, I came home from my shift at work, opened a bottle of wine and listened to Midnight Organ Fight in its entirety, as I’m sure most fans did as well. The loss that I felt, and still feel is unbelievable, it was like I knew him through his honest lyrics and performances. I can’t express how much I love this band and how it’s been the backing track of some important moments in my teens/early 20’s.
I wouldn’t be surprised in the next 10, 20 years it will still hold up as an iconic album in the Scottish Indie scene. If you haven’t been introduced to his band before, have a listen. You won’t be disappointed!