Everyone is Scottish. Not even joking. An array of drunken Scot dialects ring throughout the sold out Frightened Rabbit gig, all chanting for a big piece of underground heroes Frightened Rabbit - which is incredible considering the size of the place.
But before the main act graces us with their presence, Canadian support Wintersleep gets off to a shambolic start with the lead singer dropping his maracas on the floor mid song (not Cockney for knackers, we mean it literally, as the Latin American percussion instrument). These guys aren’t bad, it’s just that they aren’t really that impressionable. The set is so middle-of-the-road it hurts. There are a few catchy hooks and some talented drumming, but it’s not enough from stopping the lads at the front hitting the bar like it’s last orders.
Frightened Rabbit are welcomed with a huge but slurred cheer. Behind them is a religion inspired set up, including crucifix like structures, making the stage look like some twisted church. “Let me take a look at this,” lead singer Scott Hutchison says with a smile. The lights come up to reveal an audience with arms raised in the air. For the band, this is a long time coming. With a Top 10 album now achieved, it seems like they are finally getting the commercial recognition they should have gotten years ago, but for some strange reason never did.
Starting with new ‘Pedestrian Verse’ track ‘Holy’, they immediately get beer flying and out of time clapping under way. This excitement is then doubled when 'The Midnight Organ Fight’ classic ‘The Modern Leper’ comes next, which is met by a touching lullaby crooning from what seems like everybody in The Forum. Hutchison suggests that we all dance with a stranger before launching into ‘Old Old Fashioned’. A few of the more inebriated fans downstairs do just that, but since we’re upstairs and not allowed to stand, it just looks like we’re creepily air thrusting in our chairs. At least we try. Going into an encore with new album favourite ‘The Woodpile’, it’s clear that, like a fine Scottish whisky (or some other clichéd Scottish simile), Frightened Rabbit have only gotten better with age.
A mix of old and new tonight pleases the die hard fans that followed them around on the obscure Highlands tour and the newbies that only discovered their delectable indie folk stylings a few weeks ago through the radio. It’s amazing to see Frightened Rabbit finally come out of the hole they've been hiding in for years to be overwhelmingly embraced for it. Before stumbling off to celebrate tonight’s massive accomplishment, Hutchison promises us they’ll be back in London again soon. Without a doubt, they’ll be welcome.
Words by Jamie Carson
Photos by Andrew Novell