Concert Review: Frightened Rabbit, July 23, Horseshoe Tavern

Toronto – Another Wednesday night in Toronto bodes another sold-out show at the Horseshoe. And surprise, surprise, it’s another band that has seemingly burst onto the Toronto hipster scene full-throttle. I didn’t know too much about Frightened Rabbit aside from the fact that they were rootsy rocky Scots, but I did like what I heard off their latest album Midnight Organ Flight. Namely Modern Leper and Heads Roll Off. I will admit though, that it didn’t fully occur to me how much lead vocalist Scott Hutchison sounded like a yowlier version of Adam Duritz (you remember, the dreadlocked lead singer from Counting Crows who landed all those choice Friends babes back in the 90’s).

Although the PM guys would disagree with me I think the real intrigue of the evening stemmed from Brooklyn’s ambient noise trio the Antlers. Nails on the chalkboard feedback aside I see a lot of potential here – and I say this in good faith even after they gave me an exaggerated case of tinnitus. I’m listening to some of their tracks right now and with the exception of Sylvia am wondering if this is the same band. They’re showing quite a bit of range and doing a bit of research now I see they’re being represented by Kip Kouri, the same guy who promoted the now defunct Dirty on Purpose. Maybe Kip has the same weakness for Spacemen 3-laced Nu Gaze as I do. These guys have a softer, more acoustic side that wasn’t represented by their eardrum-popping set last night though.  Here’s hoping there’s some future headlining potential.

The Antlers—July 22, 2009 @ Horseshoe Tavern by aboylikeme.
Photo courtesy of Jackman

As for Frightened Rabbit, I don’t think it was necessarily a bad show. I kind of liked a few Counting Crows songs in grade 9. Maybe you did too. There’s no shame in that although I’m going to say most of the FB fans at the show last night would probably beat you with their plaid shirts if you were to suggest as much. They have attracted an extremely loyal fanbase and who am I to say they’re undeserving? Nothing good is ever for everyone. A friend of mine has pointed out that they at least sound “sincere” — and indeed they did seem genuinely touched that they were playing in front of a capacity audience. Hutchison made reference to Torontonians’ superior taste, which predictably drove the crowd wild. I thought the band was quite good and have a sort of country-bear-jamboree-meets-grunge kinda feel. Actually that may not be even close to apt…but…I’m sleep deprived. And however you feel about Hutchison aside, it’s hard to deny he’s a clever lyricist.

Best performed song from their set: Old Old Fashioned
Worst performed song from their set: Heads Roll Off

Frightened Rabbit—July 22, 2009 @ Horseshoe Tavern by aboylikeme.
Photo courtesy of Jackman

**This is an unrelevant aside, but it seems that a number of ladies in the audience went notably moist as soon as the lead singer started a bit of banter with the audience simply due to his Scottish accent. Until now I had no idea an accent had such power. Feel free to impart your wisdom about this phenom upon me.

Posted on by Allison in Concerts

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9 Responses to Concert Review: Frightened Rabbit, July 23, Horseshoe Tavern

  1. lolo

    it’s brutal having to read a review from someone who knows nothing about the band. and also, that plaid shirt hipster toronto crowd cliche… its enough. i actually saw nobody in plaid – it’s called 20somethings. sorry we dont wear suits to horseshoe tavern.

    i thought the show was perfection IF YOU LIKE THEM. which i do. a lot. they performed off midnight organ fight, and sing the greys, did an acoustic “poke” as an encore (how could you leave that out of a review) and when scott took to the keyboards for “twist” well, eff yea. was brilliant.

    great show. terrible reviewer. :)

  2. Wade

    Hey lolo, as a fan of the band you are expected to be forgiving at their shows. this happens all the time, i understand. see anything i have ever written about the Mates Of State.

    don’t sing it, bring it. next time you see a show that we know nothing about, send us your review.

    i was wearing a plaid shirt last night and left the show early. i was bored.

  3. Wade

    Sometimes people are very forgiving of an entire genre. See Brians un-flattering review at the Jazz festival. Those jazz heads were up in arms.

  4. Allison

    lolo: It was mediocre IMO. I find it interesting that people think my opinion matters enough to be deemed offensive simply by virtue of the fact that I post something on a blog. Nope, I did not do my research prior and rarely even know about many of the acts I review for the blog. Which begs the question, are reviews exclusively for fans?

    The lead singer does sound an awful lot like Adam Duritz.

  5. Wade

    I listened to their latest album. ‘Poke’ is a pretty good song. I really like it. There are some others that are really catchy too. ‘Backwards Walk’ is a lyrical mess. We spent all morning making fun of it.

  6. Allison

    I really regret not going to the Antlers’ merch table during FR’s set, if only to talk to lead singer Peter Silberman. I can’t find their “Hospice” album now and will have to wait until August 14 until it’s re-released/re-mastered by French Kiss.

    The backstory of Hospice is shrouded in exactly the type of story I have huge weaknesses for. Excruciating pain, love, and death – supposedly these all have to do with Silberman’s experience in a children’s cancer ward ( although we will never know the whole story because the guy declines to elaborate on it. Perfectly mysteriously maudlin.

    I’ll be posting a review August 14.

  7. Gary

    Yeah, Two and Sylvia are both nice. I had actually thought it was in his family… but I guess that much drama in one family would be scary…

  8. Pingback: Concert Review: The Antlers, February 16, Phoenix | The Panic Manual

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