Frightened Rabbit, at Ironworks, Inverness.
They’re in the middle of their latest tour and Frightened Rabbit arrive at the Ironworks to announce that it’s been far too long since their last trip up North. Frequent visitors to the Highlands, their emotive brand of anthemic and uniquely Scottish indie rock always goes down well and, as expected, the Ironworks is a busy place this evening.
Going straight into ‘Get Out’ from their latest album Painting of a Panic Attack they don’t hold anything back and it comes quickly apparent that the audience and band are as about as tuned into each other as you’re going to get. There’s a bit of to-ing and fro-ing immediately after the first song as frontman Scott has a few technical issues to sort out. This leads drummer Grant to ask if anyone has a joke to share. And there was. And it went down very well. But I can’t remember what it was. But it was funny in a christmas cracker kind of way.
We get ‘Living in Colour’, we get ‘Old Old Fashioned’ and it all sounds fantastic. The band seem as energetic as I’ve ever seen them and Scott seems to be genuinely in awe of the reception he’s getting from the audience. Mentioning on more than one occasion that we were ‘better than Aberdeen’ and that it was the best gig of the tour so far. This of course leads to bigger cheers, we can’t be seen to be outdone by our neighbours along the A96 after all. Scott also encourages audience members to share some Inverness phrases with him but he’s utterly dumbfounded by ‘Rubber Bumpers’, although it’s fair to say that it would mystify most people who live further South on the A9.
He comments that we’re just using it as an excuse to ‘shout weird fucking shit at us’ and then cracks up at the shouted, ‘play us a fucking tune’ from the inebriated young lady in front of me. The content of your average FR tune could possibly lend a fairly mournful air to a gig but the humour and good natured piss-taking between band and audience keeps the tempo up and the pace lively.
A moment of your time though to consider the poor soul down the front who had the temerity to announce at the top of his wee voice that, ‘I’m gonnae spew’ during one of the quietest songs of the night. Grant is midway through the intro to ‘Woodpile’, the first song of the encore, when said individual announced his impending funny turn. He pauses (after laughing hysterically for a minute) before utterly roasting the poor soul. And it was a joy to watch and listen to. It was again done in good humour although I think I could detect a slight hint of exasperation in his voice!
We were treated to a second encore and we were told that they weren’t going to play ‘Keep Yourself Warm’ tonight however we had ‘more than earned it’ and it was played as a tribute to the punters who had made the band feel so welcome.
I’ve seen Frightened Rabbit at least 6 times now and they have always impressed me. Tonight was a different level though and I felt I was watching a band absolutely in their prime. Their guitar sound is huge with three guitars on the go (four at one stage) and they deserve to be playing much larger venues than this. But the downside is we’d lose that intimacy you get at a FRabbit gig and I for one would miss that.