Frightened Rabbit at The Assembly at the Woman's Club, 10/12/2012
Photo by Youa Vang
Frightened Rabbit with Arc in Round
The Assembly at the Woman's Club, Minneapolis
Friday, October 12, 2012
The night could easily have been deemed "Plaid and Beards" at the Woman's Club in Minneapolis on Friday night with most of the sold out audience in said attire. Or even "An Evening of Storytelling with Frightened Rabbit," for the evening had as much narrative as it did music. For their return to the Twin Cities, Frightened Rabbit proved they were ready to headline a room and carry the energy of the eager crowd.
With a sound that could be described as a cross between Scottish folk and the Appalachian country that has been gracing the music scene as of late, Frightened Rabbit are as entertaining for their music as their in-between song banter. Lead singer Scott Hutchinson knows how to charm an audience with his humor, made even more endearing with a brogue as thick as a Scottish fog. The easy-going manner of the show invited audience members to shout out endearments of "I love you, Scott" to the singer. Hutchinson responded by saying, "Thank you. I have so many husbands, you don't even know," and "You should learn his name before you say that," when someone jokingly exclaimed, "I love you, Scott's brother!" This led to keyboardist Gordon Skene warning Scott not to turn his back on that audience member, and subsequently had Hutchinson performing "The Twist" with his back to the audience.
Scott shared a few stories of their times in Minneapolis, like the time they were in Dinkytown and stumbled on the Loring Pasta Bar to catch old people dancing and their first time at the Fine Line, where one audience member at the Woman's club caught that set, leading to Scott dedicating "Music Now" to that one fan.
Photo by Youa Vang
Much of Frightened Rabbit's music is guitar-driven, with as many as four guitars onstage at one time, but each one is essential to the lush sound, evidenced in "Swim Until You Can't See Land" and "Old Old Fashioned." "Boxing Night" was written on Boxing Day when Scott was feeling extra melancholy and back in Scotland listening to Billy Joel and drinking beers on the day after Christmas. He related, "If you're thinking of doing the same thing to make yourself feel better, it will not work. But Billy spoke to me, and he said, 'You have to go forth and write.' Who knew I would be at the Woman's Club in Minneapolis performing this song for you?"
For the "Square 9," the last song in the regular set, the piece built and crescendoed to leave drummer Grant Hutchinson onstage to an epic exit. Changing up the listed encore, the band added "Scottish Wings," which Scott Hutchinson performed solo with his acoustic. "Good Arms vs. Bad Arms" invited the rest of the band back to the stage, but began with a poignant electric guitar solo fit to tug at any heart string. On "The Loneliness and the Scream," the last and final song, the band had the whole venue on their feet, clapping and singing along, giving validation to a man that could write the words "I exist, in the loneliness, oh, the loneliness."
Critic's bias: I loved every minute of Frightened Rabbit's set, while their opener, Arc in Round, left me bored and uninspired. I even closed my eyes and fell asleep for the second half of their set.
The crowd: Plaid and beards.
Overheard in the crowd: In response to someone yelling "Free Bird!" "When is it ever ok to shout out 'Free Bird' at a show?" "I don't know -- at a Lynyrd Skynyrd concert?"
Random notebook dump: I am interested to see what promoter First Ave. can do for this new/old venue, The Woman's Club. While the seating was a nice changeup from a bar venue, the sound needed some tweaking, for most of the lyrics were lost in the instrumentation.
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