Gig review: Frightened Rabbit

The great homegrown Barrowland Christmas takeover continued over this weekend with three shows by hearty indie folk sorts Frightened Rabbit, receiving the baton from Twin Atlantic following their own three-night sold out residency.

Scott Hutchison of Frightened Rabbit PIC: John Devlin

Frightened Rabbit ***

Barrowland, Glasgow

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In their own way, the milder and moanier Frightened Rabbit are just as capable of arousing passions.

In wobblier times earlier this year, frontman Scott Hutchison berated himself for making successful music out of his self-flagellation, romantic and otherwise. It was ever thus in ancient and modern minstrelsy, though it is perhaps unusual for a band’s chief songwriter to cop to his own self-indulgence. And if his assessment is true, then clearly misery attracts rather rowdy company.

The band seemed bowled over by the support and wasted no time in turning up the pace and filling the room with the headlong Get Out. Frightened Rabbit songs tend to be numbers you can clap, stomp or chant along to – often all three at once. They are lovers of the universally communicable “woh-oh” hookline, often used in pop music as a proxy for depth of emotion. But there is a natural catharsis in Frightened Rabbit’s delivery – you might just call it singing and playing their heart out. There was Caledonian soul to be discerned among the lusty hollering and clattering drums of Holy.

I Wish I Was Sober, about the loneliness of the long distance binge drinker, is not much of a song yet Hutchison has captured something of the sentiment of the season. There was lots of Christmas spirit in the room but of a good-natured fellowship rather than boozed-up variety.

Living In Colour, introduced as “the only truly positive Frightened Rabbit song”, featured an uplifting male chorus shot through with a forceful pulse. By their own admission, chiming hymnal Floating In The Forth (key lyric: “I think I’ll save suicide for another year”) was not Saturday night music, but it was followed with indie hoedown Old Old Fashioned.

Hutchison performed an equally rambunctious solo acoustic spot to open their encore, before their numbers were swollen by members of support band Paws. The audience took up the wordless refrain on The Loneliness & The Scream, chanting and stamping them offstage like a cheery mob, but keeping up the rallying cry until the band returned again for another unlikely wallowing singalong, Keep Yourself Warm.