Review: Frightened Rabbit @ Webster Hall 4/28/10

02May10

It usually doesn’t take me this long to write a post after a concert, but I think I have been putting it off because I didn’t want to write a bad review of a really good band. I mean, maybe it was because I got there late and was in stuck watching the concert from the back, sort of on the sidelines, or maybe it was because the set lasted just a little over an hour, or maybe it was because I didn’t really know the new songs. Well, whatever it was, I just wasn’t into the Frightened Rabbit show at Webster Hall last Wednesday night.  I’ve seen this band perform four times before and those shows have been really great, high energy shows (i.e. Southpaw 7/2/08), but this one seemed different.  I can’t exactly figure out why. Is it possible to see a band too many times? I hope not.

I admit that Webster Hall is not my favorite venue. There’s always two or three different events going on there, and the concert area never seems to get the undivided attention it deserves. But like I said, I got there late and it felt like I was just observing some party I was not invited to. The songs were good, though the new ones haven’t grown on me like the songs from Midnight Organ Fight.  One of the new ones off of The Winter of Mixed Drinks called “Swim Until You Can’t See Land” is catchy and stays with you.

The band has gotten bigger both literally and figuratively. Lead singer Scott Hutchison mentioned how far the band had come in just a couple years. Headlining a sold out show at Webster Hall felt a lot different than the days of  playing in little basements in Brooklyn.  But, the band has grown in size, as well. In addition to guitarist/bassist Billy Kennedy, guitarist Andy Monaghan, and drummer Grant Hutchison, the band has added a new musician— guitarist/keyboardist Gordon Skene. He’s got the dress code down, so he blended in quite well.

As I mentioned, the set lasted about an hour and fifteen minutes, including encores. The show felt rushed. I don’t know if they had other places to be that night, or they were nervous or something.  But the songs seemed louder and less refined.  Frightened Rabbit’s songs have great lyrics, but they were sort of lost in the midst of the lighting and drums. I think I was used to more carefully delivered songs from a small, humble Scottish foursome.  Something was different this time, but perhaps I’ve just been spoiled all along with small shows and this was just a dose of reality. It was destined to happen—Frightened Rabbit has outgrown me, but I guess it’s for the best.

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