Frightened Rabbit – March 18th – Gothic Theatre

Photos by Ty Hyten

The Scene: South Broadway’s Gothic Theatre was packed early last Monday night for a sold-out evening of Scottish Indie Rock. It was the Monday after St. Patty’s day weekend but the audience had seemed to shake the hangovers off and were full of energy.  The room was nearly entirely full of late twenty to early thirty year olds, beer in hand, when the lights went down for the opening act.

Opener: The Twilight Sad.  Scottish band The Twilight Sad played as a stripped-down threesome, with guitarist Andy MacFarlane seated on stage.  Singer James Graham mentioned that they’re usually a much more rowdy and loud band, but the lack of clutter in their set was actually extremely satisfying. Graham’s thick Scottish accent sat at the forefront of the band’s focused sound and he tends to add a strong roll to his R’s. The audience stood surprisingly attentively, seeming to really enjoy the music which sounded a lot like the band they were supporting at times. While Graham seemed flustered and nervous now and then and sipped a cup of brown liquid throughout the set, this nervousness was outshone by the strong delivery of his vocals.

Frightened Rabbit: Frightened Rabbit hasn’t visited Colorado since an opening gig for Death Cab for Cutie at Red Rocks in August 2011. This absence, combined with the release of their new album Pedestrian Verse, had Denver fans counting down the days to Monday night’s concert. The Glasgow six piece played a full set of emotionally raw songs spanning their last three records starting with “Holy” from their latest release. Spotlights spun and poured white light through smoke from behind the band as the backdrop shifted from red, to blue, to white. The audience in front the stage moved with a rowdiness I wasn’t expecting for a Monday evening.

The crowd gave the most love to songs from 2008’s Midnight Organ Fight, one of my favorite albums of the last several years. Reactions to songs like “Backwards Walk,” “Good Arms vs Bad Arms,” “Old Old Fashioned,” and an acoustic performance of “Poke” that drew a tear from a girl next to me, were testament to the fan connection to that album. The band never strayed far from the recorded versions of their songs but I think that guitar or drum solos would take away from the gorgeous cohesive melancholy vision of singer Scott Hutchison.

At one point Hutchison asked the audience to play the part of a human accordion as the band kicked into fan favorite “Swim Until You Can’t See Land.”  Throughout the night the lead singer poured his heart into each and every song making for a great performance to watch. The night ended with an encore of “The Woodpile,”  “Living in Colour,” and “The Loneliness and the Scream.” While though there aren’t any more Colorado dates announced yet, Hutchison left us with the tease “See you again soon, sooner than you might think” which was great news for a room full of satisfied fans.

Energy: A-
Musicianship: B+
Sound: B-
Stage Presence: B+
Set/Light Show: B+

Overall: B+