Sunday, 23 August 2009

frightened rabbit @ queen's hall, 18th august

here's my thoughts on that gig in that headline there...

Unlike their winged namesakes, the Moth and the Mirror initially find the bright lights of the Queens’s Hall less than attractive, not relaxing until they’re dimmed. But confidence aside, they’re a muted wonder, encompassing slow-burn melodrama, sleepy folk and the occasional xylophone melody reminiscent of Penguin CafĂ© Orchestra.

Meursault, by contrast, seem entirely comfortable with the notion of nine-hundred or so people nestled in the palms of their hands. As an anguished Nothing Broke reverberates around pillars and pews it’s almost possible to track the collective wonder rippling through the audience.

Though the awed atmosphere is nowt compared with that produced by Frightened Rabbit when Scott unplugs to play Poke. It’s a genuine ‘had-to-be-there’ moment: not in a hyperbolic ‘highlight-of-the-evening’ sense, nor because it’s impossible to imagine it replicated another night in another town, but because singing solo and acoustic leaves the song at the mercy of the crowd’s eager larynxes, and being in the room is the only way to tell that the band still exist. The passion that Frightened Rabbit elicit is given plentiful outlets, from an opening Modern Leper’s tumultuous splendour through to impressive new tracks, one of which is christened Steve at the suggestion of the crowd, and only the paucity of Sing the Greys material irks. Tonight the band seem humbled and emotional, the air charged and scintillating, and the crowd engaged to the hilt.

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