Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club. Because No News is Bad News.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Concert Review: Frightened Rabbit at the Grog Shop

Posted By on Thu, May 6, 2010 at 9:14 AM

Anyone know what year it is?
  • Anyone know what year it is?

Scotland’s Frightened Rabbit missed Coachella a couple weeks ago because of the Icelandic volcano, but thankfully nothing prevented them from returning stateside to resume their tour, which played the Grog Shop last night.

Recently expanded to a five-piece, the band's brand of folk-rock picked up the tab from the pub and is continuously tipping higher with each subsequent album. While the barkeep won’t mind the excess spending, there’s a sense that the extra accompaniment on their third album, The Winter of Mixed Drinks, has the glass overflowing.

Frightened Rabbit smartly played three of the record's strongest tracks — “Swim Until You Can’t See Land,” “Nothing Like You,” and best-of-show “Living in Colour” — all of which ditch the heartbreak of yore, when Scott Hutchinson excelled in self-medicating lyrical quips delivered with a thick Scottish gargle. These newer songs settle into a decidedly more optimistic disposition.

The bulk of Frightened Rabbit’s set consisted of songs from their winning sophomore album, The Midnight Organ Fight. The record’s title is a euphemism for sex, and Hutchinson didn’t dispel any notion of being a dude with dude emotions and thoughts layered in general dudeness. He explained the cross-like symbol on the band's T-shirts isn’t an allusion to Jesus, and besides, he said, there’s a second line that implies they are twice as important. This quip came with a wink and admission that such talk could get them banned in some states.

An encore that began with “Poke” had Hutchinson poking fun at an off-key, harmonizing audience member, suggesting that he was dying or in the middle of an orgasm.

Frightened Rabbit’s urgent performance was a relief for the packed Grog Shop audience, which enthusiastically sang along. Openers Our Brother the Native spun a psych-rock web not far from the Animal Collective nest, while Maps & Atlases rode sturdy bass grooves to the middle ground between Minus the Bear and Vampire Weekend. Both openers proved they deserve more than a shared sentence. —Michael Tkach

Tags: , , ,

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Cleveland Scene works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Cleveland and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Cleveland's true free press free.

More by Michael Gallucci

Read the Digital Print Issue

October 21, 2020

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.