Early in last night’s 90-minute set before a capacity crowd at the Beachland Ballroom, Frightened Rabbit singer-guitarist Scott Hutchinson said something to the effect that there are times when a Monday night show feels like a Friday night show.
He said last night was one of the nights. You can see a slideshow of photos from the concert here
Apologizing for the fact that it’s been “fucking ages” since the band last played Cleveland, Hutchinson and Co. delivered a transcendent set that showed how seamlessly the band’s indie folk songs have evolved into sonically dense tunes that still pack an emotional punch.
That was apparent from the start as the band began the 18-song set with “Get Out,” a track from the band’s latest album, Painting of a Panic Attack
. The song started with a single drumbeat and muffled vocals but the band then delivered a burst of white noise every time Hutchinson sang the chorus. Flickering LED lights illuminated the stage in a deep blue hue, and strobes flickered with intensity.
“Holy,” a song punctuated with a song-ending jam, and “The Modern Leper,” a song that featured particularly noisy guitar work, followed. A bit of electronic drums kicked off the brittle “Woke Up Hurting,” another tune from Painting of a Panic Attack. Older songs such as “Living in Colour” and “Fast Blood” had a visceral quality that carried over into “Lump Street,” a tune that began with an aggressive bass riff.
“I don’t feel like I’m playing hard enough until I sweat to the point that it feels like I pissed my pants,” Hutchinson said at one point in the show. His curly hair matted to his head, he looked like he just stepped out of the shower — an appropriate metaphor since the band’s music seems to have a cleansing quality for the Scottish singer-guitarist.
The group turned “Old Old Fashioned” into a rousing sing-a-long before concluding with “Keep Yourself Warm,” a song famous for the line “it takes more than fucking someone/you don’t know how to keep warm,” which Hutchinson practically shouted. The encore included an acoustic segment that featured Hutchinson on guitar and vocals and then concluded with “The Loneliness and the Scream,” another track that turned into a sing-a-long.
Chicago-based indie rockers Into It. Over It. opened with a rousing 40-minute set that suggested a slightly heavier Death Cab for Cutie. They received a warm reception from the audience too.