Frightened Rabbit / PAWS / Be Charlotte – Barrowlands, Glasgow – Sunday 18th December 2016
This was a gig that I wasn’t supposed to be going to. Having gifted MPK2 three tickets for his birthday the original plan was to drop him and a couple of his mates at the show and go for a more relaxed evening visiting friends.
My comparative indifference to the show was down to my history with Frightened Rabbit. Whilst I have friends who would swear by them live, out of the several times I’ve seen them, only the once in Dundee did I feel that they lived up to that sort of hype.
Equally on record, whilst ‘Midnight Organ Fight’ is a cracking record, I’ve toiled to get on board with any of the subsequent three albums in the intervening years.
However when one of MPK2’s mates called off late on, MPT ended up at the show – and I’m glad I did.
It’s clear that Frightened Rabbit have grown as a live band enormously in the years since I last saw them, but the most remarkable thing about the show was probably the audience who were up for it from the word go.
Indeed one of the highlights was early on with the heckle which gives this piece its title. When Scott enquired what had been said, a small part of the audience obliged by repeating the heckle and when he *still* didn’t get it then a much wider section of the audience obliged by repeating it again!
The audience reaction seemed to fuel the band’s performance – the reaction to ‘The Oil Slick’ was such that the band had to stop to allow the cheering to finish.
There’s a paradox though in that it’s the older stuff, specifically the songs from ‘Midnight Organ Fight’, that get the biggest response despite the fact that a significant proportion of the audience couldn’t have seen them at the time.
Yet the crowd grabbed the spotlight a little too much on ‘The Loneliness and the Scream’ (just like the last time I was at the Barras) when the audience’s rendition of the song’s football chant chorus drowned out the band, even more remarkable when you consider that PAWS were also adding additional instruments to the song.
Following that seemed impossible, yet the band came back once again and the final ‘Keep Yourself Warm’ was quite extraordinary.
Along with the new record it was MOF that featured the most with ‘Winter of Mixed Drinks’ and ‘Pedestrian Verse’ mined only for the hits. There were also a couple of songs drawn from debut ‘Sing The Greys’, including an appearance from James Graham to sing ‘Be Less Rude’’, although Scott was insistent at the start of the encore that he’d play ‘Snake’ only on condition that no-one ever asked him to do so again!
Overall this is a show that I’m glad that I went to. Whilst Frabbit sometimes veer too much into anthemic territory for me (sorry, but ‘Living In Colour’ just sounds like Runrig to these ears) it’s impossible to deny that they’re exceptionally good at what they do and, given a similar opportunity, I wouldn’t hesitate to go and see the band again. (Frightened Rabbit setlist here.)
A quick word on the supports.
PAWS are another band that I have somewhat mixed feelings towards. This time around they started well but lost their way a little towards the end of the set. But three consecutive nights at the Barrowlands can’t have done their profile any harm and the reception suggested that they won’t be playing too many more shows at venues the size of the Hug and Pint in their own right.
I’ve said before that Be Charlotte (now expanded to a three piece band) aren’t meant for me and their opening set did nothing to change my mind on that, although they did receive a decent reaction.