What a difference a few hundred people make.
When I saw Frightened Rabbit at Pearl Street in Northampton back in May, the band was exceedingly solid. It was easily one of the best shows I saw this year prior to moving to Boston in August. The crowd was solid as well, but the small downstairs room was only about 2/3 full. Something was missing.
Fast forward to the Scottish band’s show at the ‘Dise last night. The club was packed to the gills – sold out, in fact, for weeks in advance – and the energy in the place was palpable. I’ve seen sold-out shows at the Paradise, but have never been witness to quite this type of atmosphere.
The Frabbits eased into their set with “Things” before ratcheting up the energy with “The Modern Leper.” Only two songs in, front man Scott Hutchison was anointing the Paradise the best rock club in America. A little later, he fantasized about locking the doors to keep the vibe going all night long. “We’ll bring the sleeping bags,” he suggested. “You bring the whiskey. We’ll be fine!” The crowd couldn’t have agreed more.
The band’s 90-minute set was filled with high points, from the early-set one-two punch of “Nothing Like You” and “Old Old Fashioned” to the main-set-closing romp through “Living in Colour” and “Keep Yourself Warm.” Even when the band looked like it might lose momentum with a pedestrian take on “Yes, I Would” mid-show, it quickly rebounded with a new punched-up arrangement of “My Backwards Walk.” The Frabbits even touched on their earliest days with the Sing the Greys track “Be Less Rude,” which held up well against songs from the band’s two more recent releases.
It might be a while before we see the band again – the band will start work on its next album after its touring winds up this fall – but they went out in fine fashion. The crowd sang along with Hutchison on a solo “Poke,” bounced alongside the familiar piano vamp “The Twist” and helped propel the band with cathartic chants through the “The Lonelinessand the Scream.”
Frightened Rabbit’s Setlist:
Things / The Modern Leper / Nothing Like You / Old Old Fashioned / Swim Until You Can’t See Land / The Wrestle / I Feel Better / Fast Blood / Yes, I Would / My Backwards Walk / Not Miserable / Head Rolls Off / Be Less Rude / Good Arms vs. Bad Arms (solo) / Living in Colour / Keep Yourself Warm // Poke (solo) / The Twist / The Loneliness and the Scream
Montreal trio Plants and Animals demonstrated brawn, brains and plenty of heart during its 40+ minute set. The band’s latest album, “La La Land,” is a real keeper. A grittier Kings of Leon might be a reference point, but I’ll take Plants and Animals over the Followill clan any day of the week.
The Phantom Band opened, showing a great deal of promise on its first Stateside tour –especially on the sprawling instrumental opener that jump-started the night’s festivities.
Plants and Animals:
The Phantom Band: