It had been under two weeks since my first ever trip to Koko for the rather spectacular show by Los Campesinos. This was my first time to see the Frabbits though and my expectations were high with their second album ‘The Winter Of Mixed Drinks’ having only just been released and sounding like it was written to be heard live, not on record.
I got myself down to Koko a little late so missed the first support band but got myself a place on the balcony just in time for the second act in Airship. These guys sounded quite good to me with some fairly standard indie rock tunes with some keyboards/synths thrown into the mix too. I quite enjoyed their set but thought they were better during their instrumentals than during the singing sections. This isn’t anything against the vocals, which were fine, but they seemed a bit samey music wise during those parts but were much more interesting when just playing music.
As for the main act themselves, Frightened Rabbit kicked the evening off with the new tracks ‘SkipThe Youth’ which worked well as an opener with the long instrumental opening. They then launched straight into the fantastic ‘The Modern Leper’. However, I was a little let down by this on the night as it seemed to lack the punch I was expecting and that seems to be on the album; especially when the chorus kicked in.
The setlist on the night was pretty good I thought with just the right mix of old and new material and the newer songs definitely did stand up alongside the more ‘established’ Frightened Rabbit tracks. For me, the pick of the bunch of the new songs is definitely ‘The Loneliness And The Scream’ which came across really well but I was very surprised and disappointed with the crowd’s involvement on that song as it’s a perfect singalong one with the ‘woah’ sections. In fact, through the night the crowd felt a little flat, especially when compared to the crowd that I saw there for Los Campesinos.
‘Old Old Fashioned’ and ‘The Twist’ off the first album also sounded great on the night, while ‘Swim Until You Can’t See Land’ from the new album was one of the other highlights from the newer material and we were even treated to an explanation of the songs origins being based on a scene from a film by the Olsen twins if I remember correctly.
The band themselves played really well and on the night it was the drumming I was most with as it was part of their sound I’d never really picked up on from the records. The lead singer, Scott Hutchison, sounded really good on the night as well and there was nothing to complain about with the sound from any of them in the end.
The first song of the encore ended up being something of a microcosm of the entire gig though I thought with Scott playing a solo, acoustic version of ‘Poke’. Initially he tried to play it without a mic and without an amp but quickly had to give up on the idea as the sound wasn’t ever going to fill such a venue, especially with so many people talking over him. Despite that, it still sounded fantastic even when he had plugged back in and may have been the best song of the night.
The set closed with a massive rendition of ‘Keep Yourself Warm’ which I wouldn’t have ever put down as a set closer but it worked really well and ended the night on a hight note.
All in all, I thought the show was quite good with a good mix of songs, although I was disappointed ‘Fast Blood’ and ‘Floating In The Forth’ didn’t get a play. I’m still undecided as to whether Koko was a good venue for the band or not in the end as well because the crowd didn’t seem to be up for it and I don’t know whether a different (smaller) venue would have improved this. Despite that, I enjoyed myself and hope that they do come back to London soon!
Frightened Rabbit – The Loneliness And The Scream (live)
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