Live Review: Frightened Rabbit, 10/29.

Last night, on the order that it was Esteban Miguel’s birthday, three parts Pulp and Circ. descended on the Paradise for a quick stop from Scottish indie rockers Frightened Rabbit, on tour in support of their latest record, The Winter of Mixed Drinks. The event, occurring alongside the dreaded Halloween in a decidedly college-centric neighborhood, featured some horrors of its own…Not from the band, but from plenty of regular folk. The three of us review together, as follows…

Frightened Rabbit, seemingly happy to be in what was described by frontman Scott Hutchison as “the greatest little rock club in America”, shook the Paradise last night with a nearly two hour solid set featuring a gorgeous blend of fast-paced guitar driven tracks, as well as some quiet acoustic numbers.

Aiming to please, they played a smattering of tunes from their three studio records–from the barely known Sing the Greys (2006) to 2008 record Midnight Organ Flight and of course,  2010’s acclaimed The Winter of Mixed Drinks.

Crowd pleasers included “Old Old Fashioned”, “I Feel Better”, “Fast Blood”, and the slightly slowed and reworked “Swim Until You Can’t See Land”, which saw gig-goers embrace some singing along, repeated again towards the end of the gig with stern gusto.

Frightened Rabbit, which saw its roots take hold sometime around 2003 as just Hutchinson, his guitar, his voice, and a four-track, took to those early rumblings twice–on “Good Arms vs. Bad Arms”, the band took a breather, Hutchinson took to his acoustic, and the crowd, too, who provided the long “Oo OOo Oo” section of the emotionally wrought track, which I’m confident the frontman appreciated as he absolutely laid his shit bare. On the first of a three track encore, Hutchinson also wowed alone with “Poke”.

And while Hutchinson got all cathartic, and intimate with us all, apparently a few took it as cue to become equally as bold…and touchy feel-y.

There was a full-on make-out session near a staircase by the stage; folks felt OK with asking other people to move aside by literally clutching their shoulders for a good 10 seconds; and at least one fella was intent on leaving the gig with someone, anyone, but preferably this young lady in front of me. “Texting your Daddy to ask if you can stay out later, pretty pleeeaasse Daddy?” was one of the lines I overheard him use. Yes, that is a direct quote. He also offered to hang her coat from a hook under the balcony above us – a move that would’ve blocked the view for about a few dozen people behind him. I guess chivalry is not dead, even if it is misguided and hopped up on E (needless to say, the girl was not interested and made a gag gesture when he left).

And despite the gag gesture, there was no disappointment in the band’s performance. Hutchinson, who shared stories about carrying nothing but a stuffed snake in a rucksack from Scotland to New York City in pursuit of a girl who he didn’t get in the end (so many questions left unanswered!), made the crowd feel special–and the band ended things on a distinctly energized foot–working, at times almost violently, “The Loneliness and the Scream”.

Guitarist/keyboardist jack of all things musically gorgeous Gordon Skene worked the living hell out of his instruments toward the end, and it was clear all those additions in recent years allowed the band to really fill out their sound and work tracks that would seem otherwise futile live.

File Under: We wish that male hell bent on the world’s worst pick up lines would have recognized his own futility and hired a new act. Unfortunately for P&C, we weren’t armed with the past, a will, and a brick…

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