The first date of Frightened Rabbit’s UK tour started out at The Wedgewood Rooms in Portsmouth (the opposite end of the country to their hometown of Glasgow!) at the beginning of February. The band certainly received a warm and welcoming reception from the crowd and it was definitely worth the drive from Southampton with a car load of friends to watch a really enjoyable set!
First to take to the stage were Washington Irving, a band from the same area of Scotland as Frightened Rabbit and instantly I could see why they’d been selected as support. Their gutsy Glaswegian vocals and lyrics heavily influenced by Scotland’s highlands perfectly warmed up the audience ready for Frabbit. Next on were Canadian band Wintersleep, who my friend had previously seen support Editors at the Guildhall in Southampton. Although there was nothing wrong with their technical ability, overall, and disappointingly, their performance was somewhat bland and lacking in energy.
WIth a huge cheer from the crowd, on came the mostly bearded and checked shirt wearing Frightened Rabbit. Kicking off with ‘Holy’, a song from new album ‘Pedestrian Verse’ (a record which has received some very overdue praise for the band, having been in the Top 10), the set was off to an upbeat start with humming guitar riffs and Scott’s soft accented vocals loud and clear. Proceedeing this opener came a nice mix of old favourites and fresh tracks from their new record – particular crowd pleasers included ‘Old Old Fashioned’, ‘Backyard Skulls’ and ‘Backwards Walk’.
A memorable moment during the set occurred when Scott had to re-start the song ‘Heads Roll Off’ after proclaiming in surprise “sorry I just threw up in my mouth a little bit… But hey, you get the beginning of that song again now!” A stripped down sorrowful-sounding version of ‘Good Arms vs. Bad Arms’, with Andy Monaghan’s echoing guitar notes definitely tugged at many people’s heartstrings, but then classic ‘Swim Until You Can’t See Land’ and the encore, including top charting song ‘The Woodpile’, brought the set to a euphoric and inspiring end.