Thursday, 7 March 2013

frightened rabbit, wintersleep, three blind wolves @ barrowlands, glasgow, 28th february

Tonight’s the final UK date of what Frightened Rabbit’s Scott Hutchison will later describe as “one of the best tours we’ve ever had.” Furthermore, it comes a fortnight after fourth album Pedestrian Verse wound up plonked between Rihanna and Calvin Harris in the album chart top ten – a valedictory confirmation of just how broad the band’s appeal has grown.

This heightened buzz is reflected in tonight’s turnout. The fact the gig sold out well in advance was to be expected, but less anticipated is how quickly the room fills on the night, with the ballroom bustling well ahead of the headliners. Maybe it’s pure anticipation that brings folk out so early. Or maybe they just caught wind of how good first support Three Blind Wolves are sounding these days, with sprawling new single In Here Somewhere building nicely and boding well for their future. Wintersleep fare less well – proficient, but mostly ignored by the now-heaving Barrowlands (save for the straightforward folk stomp of Weighty Ghost, which prompts the odd whoop). For the pockets paying attention, however, they hit their marks, with expansive closer Nerves Normal, Breath Normal making the most distinct impact.

Frightened Rabbit know a thing or two about impact, with the scream that greets their arrival deafening and shrill. They explode out the traps with Holy and The Modern Leper, and though the latter’s dampened by temporarily poor sound, any cracks are patched by the crowd’s amplified enthusiasm. Highlights of albums 2-4 (it seems Sing the Greys has been resigned to history, unfortunately) are plentiful: My Backwards Walk is more majestic than ever; Nothing Like You rattles along at an invigorating clip; while a hypnotic Acts of Man rounds out the main set. As is customary, Scott delivers Poke solo and sparks a bellowing sing-along – a favourite set-trick that seems to trigger an even more pronounced response than usual. Scott looks genuinely moved, even teary. “You’re fucking wonderful” he says with a slightly breaking voice as the room takes over – right back at you, Frabbits.

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