Frightened Rabbit run wild at the Varsity
Glaswegian quintet Frightened Rabbit felt quite at home at the sold-out Varsity Theater on Monday night, not only due to the blustery Scottish weather blowing through Minneapolis that day, but also through the warm, affectionate reception the group received from the massive audience throughout their 75-minute performance. It was a charming, spirited show that only got better as the night went on, with frontman Scott Hutchison continually left speechless by the overwhelming response his songs were garnering from the crowd. "It's been a long time since we've been here, I'm glad you didn't forget about us," Hutchison said towards the start of their uplifting set, and with anthemic songs like the ones they unleashed on us at the Varsity, no one will be forgetting about this engaging, deeply affecting band anytime soon.
The group delivered a balanced mix of songs from their recent release, The Winter Of Mixed Drinks, as well as older hits from the beloved The Midnight Organ Fight, while unfortunately skipping anything off of their splendid debut Sing The Greys (a minor complaint). They opened with a somewhat tentative version of "Skip The Youth" that eventually caught fire halfway through after they got their minor sound issues sorted, and after that it was a steady blur of one soaring song after another, with "Modern Leper"; "Old, Old Fashioned," which turned into a pub-like singalong; and "Loneliness and the Scream" (my personal favorite from the night) resonating deeply with the receptive crowd.
"The Wrestle" and "The Twist" quickly followed, building on the swelling momentum from the early part of the set. The thunderous reception these songs received clearly showed the band that they had forged a deep and lasting connection with their adoring audience. Hutchison again spoke fondly toward the crowd, exclaiming that "Halfway through the tour you start missing home a bit, but then shit like this happens and it doesn't matter anymore." You couldn't help but believe he was being sincere, as the man was rightly chuffed by the overwhelmingly positive response these songs were receiving.
Frightened Rabbit's two recent singles were featured towards the tail end of the show, with both "Swim Until You Can't See Land" and "Nothing Like You" blending seamlessly with classics like a cleverly reworked "My Backwards Walk" and "Good Arms vs. Bad Arms," which finished the main set strongly. Hutchison came out for the encore by himself, delivering a stirring solo version of "Poke" which was unquestionably one of the more moving parts of the set.
The rest of the band rejoined him for a rousing rendition of "Living In Colour" and, after Hutchison declared "This is truly incredible, thanks to each and every one of you" the band kicked into the boisterous set closer "Keep Yourself Warm" which again found the crowd in fine voice, joining the band in singing along emphatically to the riotous finishing number. Ultimately it was an evening filled with indelible, moving songs, as well as an unwavering connection between the band and their fans, all amounting to a truly special night which Frightened Rabbit and their enthralled, enthusiastic audience won't soon forget.
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