O2 Academy, Glasgow
When Frightened Rabbit descended onto the stage at the O2 Academy Glasgow, it felt like a homecoming. Although originally from Selkirk, the band formed in Glasgow in 2003, with Scott Hutchison making the rounds of local independent venues as a solo project. Going full circle, it seemed only right that the final night of their tour saw them returning to the city they call home, in the presence of their most devoted fans.
Frightened Rabbit hadn’t found just any excuse to tour: the tour marked the 10th anniversary of the release of the band’s second studio album, The Midnight Organ Fight. It was a celebration of that album; of what it meant, and still means, to the band and to the fans who adore it.
The record was played in order, front-to-back, sandwiched between three later songs to begin the show and three to end it. The unusual decision to play the record in order confirms the band’s admiration for The Midnight Organ Fight. It is not just songs put together; it was meant to be heard as a complete journey, reflecting both the creative and emotional processes that formed the record.
The Midnight Organ Fight is a quintessential break-up record, steeped in emotional turmoil, with lyrical sentiments ranging from, “You’re the shit, and I’m knee-deep in it”, to, “This is the last song I’ll ever write about you”, to, “I’m still in love with you”.
Every lyric is from Scott Hutchison’s perspective, drawing on the pain of a devastating break-up.
While the pain is hopefully less raw 10 years on, the sentiment remains; what makes the record so powerful is its relatability to almost anyone who has ever loved and been hurt, whilst also remaining deeply personal to Scott. Its encapsulation of a feeling and a time in the singer’s life is surely what makes it so meaningful to himself and his fans.
Far from the usual atmosphere of artists presenting new material, or at least revitalising old material, every song played was performed as the original release, and greeted by the crowd like an old friend.
The prose and intimacy of the lyrics created a feeling of deep conversation between the band and the crowd, as every word was shouted back at the stage. The crowd felt every conflicting and juxtaposed emotion Scott felt: the jealousy of ‘Good Arms vs. Bad Arms’; the sorrow of ‘Poke’; the hope of ‘Floating in the Forth’.
One of the most striking things about the show was the sheer devotion of the crowd to the band and to the music. Fans were not only dancing and singing along to every word: many were in floods of tears. And it worked both ways; Scott’s interaction with the audience showed real respect and gratitude.
When adding more dates to the tour, the band opted to release information at the last minute with no preamble: an action against the mass purchasing and reselling of tickets, and a measure to ensure that the most devoted would be able to get tickets. This was a night dedicated to fans, truly.
Image: Heidi Weber via Wikimedia