Frightened Rabbit photo by Sarah Starkey

Frightened Rabbit photo by Sarah Starkey


It’s been over 2 years since Frightened Rabbit toured. Their last studio album Pedestrian Verse was released back in 2013 and received both critical and mainstream success,  reaching number 9 in the UK album charts and finding the band stepping onto the radar of a wider number of music fans.

Since then, fans of this Scottish five piece have been patiently waiting for more and on the 8th April 2016 they released their 5th album entitled Painting Of A Panic Attack, which I am particularly excited about as it’s produced by The National’s very own Aaron Dessner.

The first night of the bands current tour starts in our great city this evening and as I head to the Academy 2 based amongst the University of Manchester, I hope that I just don’t end up surrounded by 18 year old students (mainly because I’m jealous of their youth and freedom). Tonight, Frightened Rabbit will be performing to a sold-out venue and it makes me wonder why they weren’t booked for the Academy 1 in the first place.

Man Of Moon are the support act for this gig and despite some clear teething problems with the sound and a slightly bass-heavy overload sampler, they increasingly capture the attention of the crowd as the set develops. This duo reminds me slightly of Royal Blood but with a lot less thrashing about and moshing on stage. Their tune ‘When I Wake’ has a haunting intro and lead singer Chris Bainbridge’s raspy vocals shine beautifully, whilst ‘The Road’ presents an incredibly catchy driving rhythm and enticing beat; great credit to these two musicians who are making it feel like there’s a full band on stage, we are grasped in their atmospheric grunge bubble.

As Frightened Rabbit slink onto the stage they unleash ‘Get Out’ from the latest record, a very radio friendly indie anthem, an easy sing-along for those not too familiar with the latest releases and as the song comes to a close, singer Scott Hutchinson thanks the audience for “not forgetting us” and jokes “If we have to start the tour in England, better to start it here, ‘cause we love Manchester!” The audience may be ever so biased and the screams unsurprisingly emphasize our agreement. Other tracks from their new album that glisten are the most mellow – ‘I Wish I Was Sober’ is a climatic emotive wonder and ‘Die Like A Rich Boy’, a beautifully melancholy acoustic number. Scott asks if we’re okay, the crowd cheers wholeheartedly and he responds “Maybe to the average Frightened Rabbit fan, just okay, is actually fucking incredible” and maybe he’s right, maybe their moving, emotive lyrics attracts the downbeat amongst us and unites a shared empathy for the woes life can bring.

There’s a momentary change of mood when ‘Living In Colour’ pounds out of the speakers, seemingly faster than the recorded version, skipping and dancing ripples, this upbeat sounding track visibly lifts the audience spirits and the indie pop tune sounds as good as it did in 2010. Nonetheless, the biggest wave of excitement roars up when ‘Heads Roll Off’, ‘The Modern Leper’ are played along with their final song of the set ‘Keep Yourself Warm’, one that could be the mantra for every single person in their 20s. All of these outstanding tunes are from The Midnight Organ Fight album, which despite not their biggest selling is arguably their best. The love for this album is experienced by everyone in the room.

The passion of this band is undeniable as they candidly open up their musical souls on stage, for every minute and second of their set, the energy is intense and their enthusiasm alone is worth way more than the ticket price.

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Sarah Starkey

I am a Freelance Writer who is a bit music obsessive. Previously written for the likes of Music Vita and Planet Ivy. Life highlights include winning £2.50 on the Euro-millions.