REVIEW: Frightened Rabbit @ Institute, Feb 9th


Words by Damien Russell / Pics by Katja Ogrin

It’s Friday night and Scottish Indie/Rock band Frightened Rabbit are on at the HMV Institute.

After some delays, due to an ‘extended soundcheck’, we’re allowed in. I settle in the middle of the crowd as the Canadian support act, Wintersleep, are in full swing; playing a smooth uplifting set that boasts some excellent harmonies, and an energy that really draws the crowd in.

     FrightenedRabbit_Institute_Feb13-28There’s a long changeover before the headliners, Frightened Rabbit, hit the stage; but they eventually do with an energetic drum driven start.

And some great audience interaction, as frontman, Scott Hutchison, chats to the audience about where his inspiration comes from, and continues to treat us to the full back story of several songs throughout the set.FrightenedRabbit_Institute_Feb13-102

Although, to me, this is the best part of an otherwise somewhat static performance.

There seems to be more people onstage than the sound deserves, and the set reaches a level early on which doesn’t really change.

New album tracks, such as ‘Backyard Skulls’ and ‘State Hospital’, hit the same style as the rest of the set; with a short emotive stripped down FrightenedRabbit_Institute_Feb13-98acoustic section at the end being the only surprise. One showing some folk roots that admittedly gets the audience singing.

The encore tonight is a bouncy number, ‘Living in Colour’, from their last album before moving to Atlantic Records. With some great harmonies, this also stands out; and again gets the audience bouncing right along with them.FrightenedRabbit_Institute_Feb13-87

So, as I leave somewhat quicker than I came in, I mull over the gig. All things considered, it was a solid, high octane performance with some great audience interaction.

But unfortunately I need more.

It’s been a while since Frightened Rabbit released an album, with this tour representing their new label debut, and forgettable choruses just don’t do it for me.

For more on Frightened Rabbit, including the official video for ‘Woodpile’ – the second single from ‘Pedestrian Verse’, visit

For more gigs at the Institute, visit