Tuesday, July 28, 2009

[Live Review] Frightened Rabbit, Chicago, Bottom Lounge, 7.19.09

As the massive amount of crowds and euphoric ridden folk file out of Union Park, from the festival ending set by the Flaming Lips. I lock up my bike and head into the Bottom Lounge to see how Frightened Rabbit has held up since he was on the stage much earlier for the third and final day of the Pitchfork Music Festival. Unfortunately I drew the very short straw and was held up from making it out today, the worst of it was the bulk of the bands I was looking forward to see live all fell on this last day as well. On a positive note, with some diligence and determination it looks as though I will get to see a lot of these same bands either when they return to Chicago for their own tour or when I make my way out to Colorado for this year's Monolith Festival. Regardless, I was fortunate enough to catch Scott Hutchison & gang’s Post Pitchfork show this evening. Unsurprisingly there was a decent crowd all packed in to see the set they either missed or had hoped to build onto from the fun earlier in the day.

Thax arrives to introduce Frightened Rabbit quoting lyrics from “Poke”. The Scots run onto stage exclaiming tiredness and begins with “I Feel Better” they start rather high tempo with no signs of fatigue, continuing what I can assume was a strong set nine hours ago. “Since we’ve played this afternoon, I’ve had a bit of whiskey…perfect cure for a sore throat, and among other things confidence” Scott jokes holding up a bottle in between songs. Much like the brutal honesty of his lyrics, Scott’s delivery is just as visibly painstaking. A drunken Scott makes an enjoyable performer creating a comfortable environment jesting and conversing in between songs. The crowd definitely not a deterrent from the enjoyment of the set, I can imagine this being a better experience for the Pitchfork goers who caught their earlier set; as the band casually throws jokes around coercing everyone for crowd cooperation. WOW!!! “The Modern Leper” has turned this performance up a notch they are such an amazingly gracious band as well. Still becoming familiar with their first album, it was a nice transition to hear something old, “Yawns”. A microphone error occurs but Scott takes it in strides and he casually eases over and resumes his twist.
Obviously inebriated by the drunken ramble throughout the show but not apparent in their performance as it flows seamlessly all the way through this cozily crowded lounge. The crowd’s yells and requests are offhandedly responded to; and then leading into the ninth song ”My Backwards Walk” of the set, the drunken error finally occurs. Scott shrugs it off with a laugh claiming it had to occur at some point. With the loud chants, “Music Now!!!” begins, and this experience has definitely reached that musical nirvana where all sensories are reached by the spine tingling performance on stage. That song demands you to sweet talk the next random girl to the backroom and make out with her, per suggestion of the random girl next to me. I clarified that wasn’t a blatant suggestion for the two of us to disappear for the remainder of the set. There is such a high intensity and this rhythmic awesomeness present as the set comes to a conclusion with Scott dancing a jig about stage and the drum skins being pounded. After a relentless plead, stomp and chant from the audience Scott returns with his acoustic guitar in hand letting us know his gratitude and he was going to play something new. “Swim Until you Can’t See Land”, has an overall feeling of loneliness, solitude and disparity, from what Ive read definite aspect that will be present in their upcoming album. Finishing the evening off with another gracious thanks and promising to soon return prior to bringing the house down with the crowd pleasing “Keep Yourself Warm”. For obvious reasons it would take a lot to make up for the missed line up of Pitchfork but at least this year’s festival experience ended on a very high note with an amazing performance from a great band.

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