BY PETER MCLOUGHLIN
There are few bands (or artists for that matter) that have such a naturally strong connection with their audience. One song into Frightened Rabbit’s latest show in Belfast and it was clear to the band’s lead singer, Scott Hutchison, that speaking at all between songs was going to be somewhat superfluous – the love felt by the crowd for the band and their songs being so immediately vociferous.
This is no small credit to the band. Their songs contain raw, unflattering emotion. They are honest, unadorned, and intensely relatable. In an exclusive interview he gave to the Gown at the beginning of the year, Scott spoke about the difficulty of being a man – ‘the whole challenge of being a guy,’ he said, ‘is suppressing those [traits]… you know, trying not to be that c**t.’ In many ways, that statement sums the band up – they explore, in songs like “Acts of Man”, “The Loneliness” and “Keep Yourself Warm” – to take an example from each of their last three albums – the many internal conflicts that exist within the individual. That the crowd at their shows show such unreserved appreciation – and in the same interview mentioned above, Scott said that the reception the band receives is comparable world-wide – proves that Frightened Rabbit are in touch with the pulse of modern thought in a way most bands could only dream of.
What is more, the band showed a wonderful humility to their reception – they stood at times awestruck between songs, faces full of sweat and frank gratefulness. This is where the root of the bond stems from – a feeling of connection expressed honestly from both the stage and the stands.
They performed a great set, and there were moments of legitimate transcendence in the live realisation of some of their (for this writer) most personably relatable songs – I literally lost all self-awareness or self-consciousness… and by the encore, I had even lost my shirt. This was an entirely unexpected, and hitherto unexperienced, feeling of emotional freedom at a concert.