On Wednesday, we ventured out of Liverpool for a special gig just a little way up the M62, in Manchester’s Cathedral to see Frightened Rabbit.
Frightened Rabbit have recently just returned to the UK after touring across Europe. Kicking off a series of dates back on British soil, the Scottish five-piece made Manchester’s stunning cathedral the first stopping point.
Supporting the band on the night were Glaswegians, PAWS. Showcasing tracks from their three albums, lighting up the cathedral with their fun and energetic set. The crowd were gripped by the energy of the early performance and the excitement of the audience was reflected on to the band, who appeared to thoroughly enjoy the short time on stage.
With songs from their latest effort No Grace, such as ‘Impermanent‘ and ‘N/A‘ or ‘Owl Talons Clenching My Heart‘, taken from their second album, Youth Culture Forever, what was a cold winter night in Manchester, PAWS, managed to warm it up with their entertaining performance.
Frightened Rabbit took to the stage with a huge welcoming from the eager fans, launching straight into ‘Get Out‘, from Painting of a Panic Attack. The Scotsmen set the pace for the evening, with an electric and thrilling show that’s perhaps a little different to what usually goes on in a cathedral.
It was a career-spanning set as they gave outings to fan favourites such as ‘Head Rolls Off‘ and ‘Swim Until You Can’t See Land‘. The band’s songs can be very raw and passionate at times, so when frontman Scott Hutchinson would sing, or the emotion of a song would climax and turn into an explosive instrumental, the setting of Manchester’s breathtaking cathedral felt like a perfect place that added another layer of beauty to their performance.
Scott at times mentioned how due to being in the cathedral, they had to make a couple of changes to their setlist due to the acoustics of the building. The other concern was wether or not they should play a particular song that mightn’t be suitable given the location, that song was ‘Keep Yourself Warm‘. A song about one night stands, diseases and drugs. Not exactly what you’d hear being sung at mass on a Sunday morning… The crowd had to earn it, as Hutchinson would tease occasionally, asking how much they wanted to see the The Midnight Organ Fight song played.
By the time the encore came, if the crowd really did have to work to have a rendition of ‘Keep Yourself Warm‘ on the night, then they were definitely going all out. Like a Frightened Rabbit choir, singing every word back, not a single person appeared distracted by the beautiful structure of the unique venue, they only had eyes on the five men on stage, completely engulfed by the emotional whirlwind of a set that was taking place before them.
The encore started with the frontman playing ‘Holy‘ from 2013’s Pedestrian Verse and then ‘My Backwards Walk‘ both acoustically. It was then that the rest of the band returned and ended their teasing, playing Keep Yourself Warm‘, which was worth the wait, with the gut-punching lyrics combined with the mounting tension throughout that eventually spills out into a powerful climax. It was a perfect way to reel in the night, which ended with a big sing-a-long of ‘The Loneliness and the Scream‘.
Frightened Rabbit got their UK tour off to a flying start with a show that had everyone gripped from the first chord struck to the last note sung.