Frightened Rabbit band warms the hearts of new and old Madison fans

Lead singer Scott Hutchison performed with Frightened Rabbit at the Majestic Theatre Friday night. 

Image By: Morgan Winston

Once again, I found myself alone at a concert. I do thoroughly enjoy attending shows by myself and I happen to do it more frequently than most. However, as I biked up to the fading festivities of Live On King Street, I was quite skeptical about how the night would turn out. These doubts were brushed aside as I entered the Majestic. The infectious energy from LOKS was carried in by the large and boisterous crowd, and my excitement for the start-of-the-fall concert season overtook me. With the familiar ache of my camera strap on my shoulder, I found a spot on the balcony to observe the audience. With Frightened Rabbit nearly sold-out, the room felt electric.

When Into It. Over It. came onstage at around 11:30 p.m., frontman Evan Thomas Weiss quickly gained control over the buzzing crowd. The band showed great contrast, switching between haunting guitar and drawn-out vocal melodies to loud, beat-heavy verses. In-between songs, Weiss gushed about touring in Madison and the band’s Scottish tour-mates, reminiscing about defeating them in the traditional Midwestern game corn hole.

It was easy to tell why Frightened Rabbit had chosen to take Into It. Over It. on this tour with them. The members fed on the energy of the crowd, while their music built a lot of excitement and energy for the headliners. Not having any prior experience, Into It. Over It. was one of my favorite parts of this concert. I was able to experience their music for the first time in its raw, live form.

As the stage crew began to rearrange equipment and the comfortable chatter of the venue returned, I became extremely anxious. After listening to Frightened Rabbit’s newest release, Painting of a Panic Attack, over and over again this summer, all of my thoughts and emotions tied to their music began to rush back. When the openings of “Get Out” started to emanate from the stage, the energy of the venue immediately grew. Choosing to open with arguably their most popular song from their new album was a smart choice. When the sort of synthesizer beat came in, followed quickly by the simple guitar melody, the crowd was hooked. As lead singer Scott Hutchison’s voice began to drift out over the crowd, I immediately remembered why I had fallen in love with Frightened Rabbit’s music in the first place. I settled in for an amazing night.

From their start in 2003, Frightened Rabbit has released beautiful album after album. Hutchison joked with the audience about the age of their music, introducing songs with phrases like, “This next song is even older than that one.” Long-time fans were treated to multiple songs from their 2008 album, The Midnight Organ Fight, including fan favorite “Head Rolls Off.” As a newer fan myself, I was thrilled to hear these older songs live.

I could easily tell that Frightened Rabbit has been touring for 10-plus years. “Break” was definitely a stellar example of this, with Hutchison playing the neck of his guitar to produce a gritty, unique sound. This upbeat song placed in the middle of their set, kept the energy of the night going despite how late it was into the night. Each song was able to build off of the previous one and the momentum continued to increase.

My highlight of the night came for me with “Lump Street,” one of my favorites from their new album. I was treated to the extreme darkness of the sound that I know and love, with a bass so heavy you could feel it through the floors, the walls and the seats. The quick drumming of Grant Hutchison, returning from a brief break from tour, brought out the complex beat formations of the song. The ethereal tones of the keyboard gave excellent contrast to the strong, consistent guitar sounds.

As the night came to a close, I found myself continuously drawn to the talented Scott Hutchison. His voice has such clarity and character. You know it’s him when he’s singing, but most importantly you know that he is singing his songs. Every lyric is filled with such emotion and honesty. Ending the first part of their set with “Keep Yourself Warm,” Hutchison climbed onto a speaker on the side of the stage and sang his heart to the crowd. It was the most beautiful moment of the concert. Beginning the encore with “My Backwards Walk” was another honest moment from Hutchison, who was only joined by the rest of the band for the second half of the encore. The rest of the night was a blur as I tried to soak in the last remaining songs from this wonderful, talented band. With my ears ringing, I left the concert with a full and amazed heart.

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