"Is that you in front of me, coming back for even more of exactly the same. You must be a masochist..."Frightened Rabbit is a punishing listen for a man like me with regrets about women. Song after song, just back from the Opera House stage, a cognitive split as I remember low and high moments. Late night calls, showing up at front doors, ignoring, drinking too much. Warmth in the bed, soft eyes, falling hair. Without really taking stock though, the damage can be easier to remember. It can pile up into this insurmountable heap; you're sure it's your problem, your fault. Guilt sets in. Frightened Rabbit is the soundtrack to your fuck-ups.
What could she possibly be thinking... it was a source of regret that introduced me to the Scottish lads and she had to have known what she was doing. Sending a message or not, she has good taste; the Selkirk band's latest album Winter of Mixed Drinks has been generally well received by critics. The show sold out as well, much like the band's Horseshoe stop last July in support of their previous release Midnight Organ Fight. The set drew from both albums on this night, a near 50/50 split leaning towards the crowd pleasing epic moments of their sophomore effort.
The openers were a mix of the new and familiar. Our Brother The Native, with their freak-folk energy, hectic vocals and incredible beats drew a grab bag of reactions. Beats pulled you in, vocals tending to grate. Maps and Atlases, are alumni of the project from Show #2; math-folk of the nerdiest ilk. Two handed tapping over poly-rhythms with beards abound, the Illinois band was more than liked.
The truth of it is that none of the songs are ours to hold though. We can't get upset that someone is texting during the tales because they're Scott Hutchison's; his songs and experiences. He's out there tonight, 2 weeks later, in Seattle, sharing the words and notes with some other fan. Chances are, they had a rough couple of years relationship-wise too. We have to take our relationships for what they are, not the things they seem to be. If we hold on too tightly to the ephemeral, we run the risk of being hurt. And we've got enough regrets. So instead we smile during the encore. We beam as Hutchison steps forward of the monitors and unplugs his guitar, leaves the mic behind and with a chorus of kindred, sings soft "oohs" aside lyrics of memory and loss. It's our soundtrack, but his life.
"Leave the rest at arms length, leave your naked flesh under your favourite dress... when they reach out don't touch them, don't touch them."When I first heard Frightened Rabbit, it was instantaneous. There was a magnetic pull. Midnight Organ Fight is the soundtrack to the last 2 (maybe 4) years of my life, that thankfully I hadn't heard until those years were over. Standing in the packed venue, there was comfort in knowing that so many others felt connected to the same thing. When making terrible decisions en masse, they feel less terrible I suppose. But there was a sense of loss too; of detachment and betrayal. I won't be able to see the music that I've grown so intimate with, in a more intimate venue than this. Hundreds of others crowded around, pushing their way forward.
Setlist / Encore (Album):
- Skip The Youth (WMD)
- Modern Leper (MOF)
- Old Old Fashioned (MOF)
- The Loneliness and The Scream (WMD)
- The Wrestle (WMD)
- The Twist (MOF)
- Swim Until Your Can't See Land (WMD)
- Footshooter (WMD)
- My Backwards Walk (MOF)
- Nothing Like You (WMD)
- Heads Roll Off (MOF)
- Good Arms vs. Bad (MOF)
- Poke (MOF)
- Living In Colour (WMD)
- Keep Yourself Warm (MOF)