Friday night saw myself and Elspeth making our way to the Northcote Social Club in Melbourne to see Scotland’s Frightened Rabbit. We knew that they weren’t due out on stage til after 11:00 so we had several debates about the optimal arrival time. It turned out we ended up leaving 10 minutes later than we’d planned and the fates must’ve been smiling upon us because our timing was nothing short of perfection. As we entered the semi-full band room, my suggestion of beer first was quickly shot down by Elspeth’s desire to suss out the merch situation instead. As we coughed up the dough for our maroon t-shirts, who should appear but lead singer Scott who introduced himself to us – like we didn’t know who he was already – and happily signed our shirts. For once, merch trumped beer. Nice one Elspeth.
Elspeth also deserves praise for some seriously gig savvy manuevering. We found ourselves a spot right up the back, but standing on a step which meant we had a great view above the crowd. She also strategically placed a small table right behind me so that I could lean on it (my knee is still dodgy and it’s hard to stand for long periods of time – I’m such an old woman!) and so that nobody would stand right on top of us.
It wasn’t long before FR took to the stage and immediately launched into ‘I Feel Better’, a great way to kick off what we knew would be a memorable show. Most of The Midnight Organ Fight was played during their hour long set with highlights being the gorgeous ‘Good Arms vs Bad Arms’, ‘Old Old Fashioned’, ‘My Backwards Walk’ and my favourite song of 2008 ‘The Modern Leper’, a performance that actually gave me a shiver or two.
Scott did a lot of chatting in between each song (and seriously, Scottish accents have to be the best in the world) and he told us early on that the first thing he learned after his arrival in Australia was the use of the immortal exclamation ‘shit yeah!’, a phrase which he employed with great effect throughout the night. He mentioned that his week in Australia had been the ‘best week of my life’ and that he wouldn’t mind making the move to Melbourne permanently, a statement which was naturally met with enthusiastic applause. At several times he also expressed genuine shock and delight at the reception they were receiving as the show went on. ‘We can play 50 miles from home and not get shit like this!’ During every song you could hear the crowd singing along and there were times where they would be laughing in surprise as their words were shouted back at them.
They finished the set with a beautiful 10 minute performance of ‘The Greys’ which ended with all band members leaving the stage except for Grant who launched into an energetic drum solo that left the crowd yelling for more. After a couple of minutes of begging, Scott returned to the stage alone to step right up to the front of the stage, ignoring the microphone and beginning a stunning rendition of ‘Poke’ accompanied by nothing but his guitar. A few rude idiots up the back were quickly hushed as the crowd joined in.
Poke at my iris, why can’t I cry about this?
Maybe there is something that you know that I don’t
We adopt a brand new language, communicate through pursed lips
And you try not to put on any sexy clothes or graces
Wrapping it up with the very vocal ‘Keep Yourself Warm’, Frightened Rabbit left the stage to tumultuous applause, making us all wish we could rewind the clock and do it all over again. If you haven’t seen them live yet, make sure you wrangle some tickets somehow. Beg, borrow, steal, whatever. You won’t regret it.
You can also check out Elspeth’s version of events here.