Sunday, April 11, 2010

Frightened Rabbit - Winter of Mixed Drinks / Live Paradiso April 11th, 2009

What can you do after playing a show at 5:30: you can watch a film or call your mom. Plenty of jokes by Scott Hutchison concerning the early time of the concert in Paradiso’s upstairs room. At least, as he said, the curtains where shut so it was still dark. It’s not a very rock and roll time of day, but that’s what you get with a full Paradiso, at least they didn’t play in Bitterzoet. If the early time was also the reason why it was not completely full… it could be.

Though already having released 2 albums prior to their breakthrough “Winter of Mixed Drinks” this was the first time for the Scottish band in Amsterdam. “WoMD” is getting great reviews and rightly so. Frightened Rabbit have a similar sound to fellow Scotsmen We Were Promised Jetpack and the Twilight Sad. Atmospheric guitar music that is typified by almost minimalist use of chords. One chord would be played for quite a few bars before changing to a different chord. To these chords are then added layers of sound using guitars, keyboards and a score of pedals. Out of this wall of sound then comes the Scottish drawl of Hutchinson. The guitars all sound great and they did as well live. “Winter of Mixed Drinks” has a few highlights, some of which are the excellent singles ‘Swim Until You Can’t See Land’ and ‘Nothing Like You’ or ‘Living in Colour’ as part of the encore. Impressive was the first song of the encore where Hutchinson sung a song with just acoustic guitar, without the aid of amps and microphones. It was also the only song where the vocals were clear, in the other songs his voice got muddled and his at times great lyrics were unfortunately not heard.

While not yet having reached the elaborate soundscaping genius of the Twilight Sad or the great songwriting of We Were Promised Jetpacks their album will turn up in some end-of-the-year lists and their next show in Amsterdam definitely won’t be at 5:30 on a Sunday in a small room in Amsterdam but a bigger venue with people standing outside trying to get a ticket from someone because it’s sold out.

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