Frightened in Paisley
Frightened Rabbit - Live At UWS Student Union, Paisley

Instead of treading the boards and playing at all the usual large, lifeless and downright soulless venues that many a band play, Frightened Rabbit decided this year to perform in remote towns and villages – giving everyone a chance to listen to their hard-ass tunes. So where did they choose to play this time? Paisley. Yes, Paisley. Honestly Frightened Rabbit, what did your fans do to you in a past life? (Only kidding).

After playing in their hometown Selkirk earlier in the week, Frightened Rabbit perform to a psyched up crowd at the University of the West of Scotland Students’ Union. It’s part of Freshers’ Week but young and old have trundled to Paisley to listen to this cult Scottish band belt it out.

And disappointed they are not. ‘The Modern Leper’ is the first song of the night from their second album ‘The Midnight Organ Fight’. By the end of frontman Scott Hutchison finishing the first line, the whole crowd are singing and giving it big licks. Scott has a distinctive Scottish twang in his voice, but it’s soothing to the ear, unlike some of the latest Scottish bands that whine like a donkey being grabbed by the nuts. The guitar ensemble builds up during this song and erupts into a folk-rock inspired explosion, just in time for the immortal line: “You must be a masochist to love a modern leper on his last leg”. Only Frightened Rabbit could pull this off.

The atmosphere is fucking amazing. The morons throwing booze about like there’s no tomorrow, won’t literally dampen anyone’s spirits either. Although Scott is giving them a well-deserved, scornful glance.

Another show-stopper of the night is ‘Old Old Fashioned’ which is from the same album. It has a catchy and upbeat drum roll, which is complemented by a chilling string arrangement. ‘Swim Until You Can’t See Land’ taken from their third album ‘The Winter of Mixed Drinks’ is another well-received song and the metaphor of using the sea and its surroundings to describe feelings of despair and angst, has to be commended: “And if I hadn’t come down to the coast to disappear, I may have died in a landslide of the rocks, the hopes and fears.”

Frightened Rabbit also give the crowd a taster of their new EP ‘State Hospital’ which doesn’t fail to impress. Its title track has a contagious guitar riff which transcends throughout the darkened Student Union.

Frightened Rabbit tackle every feeling and moment that anyone has ever encountered at one stage in their life through their profound lyrics – optimism, frustration, heartbreak, the loss of a loved one – it’s all there. Every song tugs at the heart strings, whether it’s sadness or frivolity. It’s just a shame it all had to happen in Paisley (just kidding… again).


Words by Morven MacNeil


Follow Clash: