This past week at Terminal 5, a quintet from across the pond brought their wall-shaking, floor-quivering anthemic rock to a sold-out crowd in NYC.
Frightened Rabbit, a Scottish indie-rock group formed in 2003 and led by brothers Scott and Grant Hutchinson, are touring in support of their 5th studio album, “Painting Of A Panic Attack.” A more melancholy collection of songs than the band’s previous ventures, it showcases a significant depth to this group’s portfolio. Acoustic melodies intertwine with soaring lyrics to bring the listener into Scott Hutchinson’s world of mystical self-discovery.
The band’s live show was a strategic introduction for fans, old and new, into what this group has now become. A smoke-filled stage and intermittent shadowed lighting set the tone for the first song of the night with lead singer Scott Hutchinson crooning into the microphone before the band joined in. As a fan, comprehending the intricacies of song composition and lyrical prose may have been lost in the over-crowded venue as Frightened Rabbit built a wall of sound into each of their tunes. One could surmise that this band is a more sophisticated version of themselves as there were points in the evening when the lights almost completely cut out, darkening the stage to the point where the band members could no longer be seen. A specific tactic to encourage the audience to revel in the music and not the enigmatic frontman? Or the hope that a Frightened Rabbit show will become more of an auditory experience than visual so the words so carefully penned by Hutchinson are heard without distraction? It was an intriguing gamble that certainly kept the audience engaged throughout the 90+ minute show. The production quality overall was so high that it could have easily been translated into a much larger venue without any loss of intimacy.
Most bands have one or two songs in their repertoire that would be considered anthems or the fan favorites used as show finales. Frightened Rabbit played twelve songs back to back with each building into a more frenzied-sense of wonderment than the last. This is a very rare occurrence for a band to understand its sound and message so completely that they can present such a cohesive, exuberant and consistent rock show which does not relent in its mission to leave everyone in the audience begging for more.
Scott Hutchinson is a grand frontman with cheeky banter in between songs that embraced the fans with every rolling “R” in his brogue. He understands the fine balance that a live show must achieve between entertainment and sensation. It was clearly understood that the audience came to see a Frightened Rabbit show and not simply a track-by-track exploration of their latest, more somber, album. “Painting Of A Panic Attack” is what one would listen to on a quiet, rainy evening to contemplate the more existential journey we all must traverse. The band’s live show is the absolute antithesis. The evening was filled with grandiose rock’n’roll that had the crowd stamping their feet in time with the thumping drumbeat and cheering so loudly at the end of every number that the venue was literally vibrating.
Knowing that the band is signed to Atlantic Records bodes well for the longevity of the group. They are clearly accomplished in their musical trade and with a marketing giant like Atlantic behind them, they should continue to shine as their fan base grows. For those who were lucky enough to attend the Terminal 5 shows, they are already privy to the epic potential of this band and are surely waiting with bated breath for album #6 to come their way.
Article: Hannah Soule