Frightened Rabbit really don't seem like the type for nostalgia. Even at Bowery Ballroom last night (2/23), the first of two sold-out NYC shows on their Midnight Organ Fight 10th anniversary tour, they bookended the album with newer songs, as if to reject the notion that going an anniversary tour is an admission that you've run out of ideas. It's clear that this is a band that pushes forward, not looks back.
That said, nothing stopped them from performing the beloved album with all the spirit that they had ten years ago. Scott Hutchison and the rest of the band were putting their all into every song and clearly having a great time, and they really did a great job of re-creating the full Midnight Organ Fight experience on stage, including playing the two interlude tracks ("Bright Pink Bookmark" and "Extrasupervery") over the PA, and even playing the short comedown song "Who'd You Kill Now?" that they didn't usually used to play live. Scott peppered the songs with funny stories from the Midnight Organ Fight days, including one about how they recorded the album in a studio with two cats and miraculously his cat allergy never got in the way, and another about the woman the album is about (they're good friends now), and the bass player from a more popular band that she left him for. (The crowd tried to get him to spill the beans on who the other band was, but Scott wouldn't budge. "So into gossip!" he joked.)
The crowd was loving every moment of Scott's stories, and they were really loving the songs too -- I don't think there was one song where the crowd wasn't drowning out Scott's every word. It's obvious that this is still an album that means a lot to a lot of people, and for good reason. This is an album where every single piece fell perfectly into place. There's not an ounce of filler, every song flows brilliantly into the next one, and both the production style and the band's arrangements couldn't have suited the songs better. But most importantly for an album like this, is Scott's words. It's a brutally honest breakup record, the kind that always resonates with late teens and early twentysomethings (and judging by the crowd last night, a lot of these fans were in their late teens and early twenties when the album came out), and Scott managed to hit the nail on the head for all the feelings you feel when you're going through a rough breakup. "I might not want you back but I want to kill him"? "You twist and whisper the wrong name / I don't care and nor do my ears"? "It takes more than fucking someone you don't know to keep warm"? Of course words like those are gonna impact a young person figuring out how to deal with heartbreak, and all the once-heartbroken fans last night yelled those lines at the tops of their lungs.
Frightened Rabbit do it again at Music Hall of Williamsburg tonight (2/24), which, again, is sold out. Like last night, Wintersleep are opening. Check out the setlist and a few videos from last night (including one of Wintersleep coming out for set closer "The Loneliness and the Scream"), below.
Related: 15 of Julien Baker’s most awesome covers and collaborations, including a duet with Frightened Rabbit.
Frightened Rabbit at Bowery Ballroom - 2/23/18 Setlist (via)
Living in Colour
Nothing Like You
Swim Until You Can't See Land
I Wish I Was Sober
The Midnight Organ Fight:
The Modern Leper
I Feel Better
Good Arms vs. Bad Arms
Old Old Fashioned
Bright Pink Bookmark (played over PA)
Head Rolls Off
My Backwards Walk
Keep Yourself Warm
Extrasupervery (played over PA)
Floating in the Forth
Who'd You Kill Now?
The Loneliness and the Scream
Update: A previous version of this post misquoted something that Scott Hutchison said on stage at Bowery Ballroom, and has now been corrected.