Tuesday, 24 August 2010

I'd say she was his sister but she doesn't have his nose

Since I first heard them on LastFM where they came up as a recommendation, I've been smitten with Frightened Rabbit. Their plaintive vocals and jangly melodies combine in a beautiful bittersweet union which leaves you punching the air and singing along about improbable things... like lepers and being poked in the iris.

Having not yet had a chance to see them live and, having nothing else pressing to do one night last month, I took the chance of a jaunt down to Stereo in Glasgow to catch the Rabbits frontman, Scott Hutchison, play a charity gig.Though slightly shambolic in places, this subterranean sweatfest of a show was an absolute cracker. There's a good review of it here at Spinner Music - though I'd have to question the use of the word 'vitriolic' to describe the crowd's singalong to "Keep Yourself Warm"...the reminder of the segue into Jay-Z's "99 Problems" is a welcome one though, not an encore you expect to hear at an acoustic singer-songwriter's gig.

There were a few real highlights in a night of general excellence, from the singalong stomp of set-opener "Old Old Fashioned" to the mass gathering of "Steves" (below) for the song "Nothing Like You" which, when first played in Ediburgh, apparently, was unnamed, resulting in the audience christening it Steve. Obvious really. Almost as obvious as the fact that some of the "Steves" were women who were almost certainly not called Steve, Steven, Stevie or even Stevo. Steph(anie) at a push....

Jaw-dropping-unable-to-concentrate-on-anything-else-long-enough-to-hold-the-camera moment of the evening went to the gorgeous signed performance of "Poke" (from which the title of this post comes) from the band's second album. A member of the audience, near the front, announced to Scott that she was an interpreted for the deaf and would like to sign her favourite Rabbits song for the audience. And that's just what she did. It was lovely to watch - I'm fairly sure sign-language isn't usually so expansive but her exaggerated, flowing gestures meshed perfectly with the tempo of the song and gave the whole experience a floaty, balletic feel.

Those familiar with the song's lyrics would undoubtedly have been intrigued, as Mr. Hutchison proclaimed himself to be, to see how the young lady handled a particular slang term in the third verse...

Since I went to this, now almost eight weeks ago, I've had the Rabbits on near-constant repeat in the car. The live album, "Quietly Now!" and debut long-player "Sing The Greys" are particular favourites. I'm really, really looking forward to seeing them at the Barrowlands in December; more perhaps than I've looked forward to a gig in a long time, which is saying something.

When a band, or in the case of the charity gig, a musician gets things this right, this charming, this lovely, it's really hard to see how people could fail to be won over by them. Frightened Rabbit - catch them before they're bigger than Jesus...which, as Scott and the boys know, is "just a Spanish boy's name"

GraveMaurice's Flickr set from the gig.