Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Frightened Rabbit @ Le Poisson Rouge 2/2/09

Monday night I took a trip downtown with some friends to see Frightened Rabbit at Le Poisson Rouge. I've been trying to see these guys for about six months now but haven't had much luck so I was excited to finally get my chance. This was also my first trip to Le Poisson Rouge, which is a pretty nice place. The venue almost has more of a club/lounge feel than most of the regular spots I go to see shows, pretty intimate with a general admission area in front of a small stage. I'd say there were only a few hundred people in attendance and the place was pretty packed, we stood towards the back but had a good viewpoint of the stage.

For those of you unfamiliar with Frightened Rabbit, they're a quartet from Scotland made up of Scott Hutchison (vocals, guitar), Grant Hutchison (drums, vocals), Billy Kennedy (guitar, keyboards, bass) and Andy Monaghan (keyboards, guitar, bass). They've been getting some major buzz over the last year and from this show I could clearly see why.

The show was billed as an "acoustic all-request" concert and basically what happened is that people would write down songs they wanted to hear and literally hand them to the band. Frightened Rabbit kicked off the set with "Backwards Walk", which made Scott crack, "are we really starting off with this song?" (or something like got a laugh from the crowd). There wasn't a ton of banter but right from the first notes you could tell that the guys were going to put on an excellent show. As the concert went on, people just started yelling out their favorites and the band accommodated the crowd by playing just about everything that was thrown at them. Highlights for me would include, "Poke", "The Modern Leper", "The Twist" and my favorite, "Keep Yourself Warm". One other really cool moment was when they broke into a cover of The National's "Fake Empire" (see video below).

As the show started to wind down, I was thinking how well the songs translated live. They've got some really cool harmonies and the combination of the guitars, drums, and keyboard just works, like a perfect blend. I don't know if I can describe it exactly but it's just a very "full" sound, there's a lot going on but nothing seems forced. Definitely check out some of the tracks mentioned above, I think you'll really enjoy their sound.

One last note, my buddy Chuck and I hung around for awhile after the show and got to speak with the band. They are a really nice group of guys, very down to earth and gracious. I was appreciative that they took some time to speak with us and it felt more like hanging out with some old friends, definitely a cool thing. This was the last show of their US tour so it looks like they'll be heading back to Europe. Keep your eyes peeled, I can see them playing some nice sized venues next time they return to the States.

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