Frightened Rabbit occupies a special place in a number of people’s heart. The Scottish native’s music boasts its own, unique personality. It’s gloomy yet cheerful. It’s depressing yet encouraging. There’s something magical about Frightened Rabbit and it’s a feeling that the Neighborhood Theatre in Charlotte shared for a night on the band’s fall tour.
The folk-rock quintet emerged and shined in a dim purple haze. The album artwork for Painting Of A Panic Attack draped along the back wall behind the band and created a welcomed somberness. There was minimal flair and a touch of inelegance to the setting, that only enhanced the performance.
Vocalist Scott Hutchinson stood front and center with bassist Andy Monaghan to his right and guitarist Billy Kennedy to his left. The set began with “Get Out,” the upbeat, heartfelt single from their new album. The audience showed their gratitude with an enthusiasm that usually doesn’t come about until midway through the show. Hutchinson soaked up the praise before letting his comedic side shine through, responding to a fellow Scot’s whistle in the crowd.
Well it looks like we got a Scottish person in the audience.
The frontman’s humor lightened the mood between sounds and evoked a chuckle from the crowd on each occasion. He shared amusing stories and quipped back at every request for every Frightened Rabbit song under the sun, playfully admitting that there was a list taped to the floor with the songs they had to play.
However, far from abandoning their old work, Frightened Rabbit performed “The Modern Leper” from 2007’s The Midnight Organ Fight with the passion it was conceived with. The band displayed its remarkable dynamism with “I Wish That I Was Sober” and “I Woke Up Hurting,” two tracks from Painting Of A Panic Attack.
The warmth behind the cold songs brought great joy to an audience that couldn’t help but sing along and tap their right foot in unison with the beat. During “Keep Yourself Warm,” the crowd took over Hutchinson’s role and sang the lyrics simultaneously with the quintet. The power and involvement that each person in the venue put forth exposed the track’s deep emotion and could’ve served as Frightened Rabbit’s swan song that night.
Instead, Hutchinson returned for the encore with just his guitar for an acoustic rendition of “Good Arms vs. Bad Arms” and “My Backwards Walk.” The two songs served as a bridge to “The Woodpile” and “The Loneliness and the Scream” which involved the full band once more. Frightened Rabbit emphasized the joy in sadness and the beauty of having an entire room share the same enthusiasm. It’s a message that gives off a feeling of empowerment – something everyone is in need of at some point in time.