Frightened Rabbit & Admiral Fallow – Bristol 20 November

Frabbits  Web / FB / Myspace / Youtube / @FRabbits

Admiral Fallow    FB / Myspace / @AdmiralFallow

This is a long overdue post , the result of my indolence more than anything else and no reflection in any way on the gig or the bands…apology over.

A crisp Bristolian night, in the event the advent of the icy blast of winter that was to come, the Lad, his long –suffering girlfriend and I turned up, frankly  a little too early, at the Anson Rooms in the SU of Bristol University. It’s a funny old venue really, big and high ceilinged but a bit of a barn, we grabbed our places up front none the less , knowing that you see pretty much nothing further back.

This was the first night of the Frabbits UK leg of their loooong tour and the last few on the continent had had to be cancelled because of Scott Hutchison losing is voice – a pretty crucial component – so there was a little anxiety about how his voice would stand up…

But first up were the admirable Admiral Fallow (see what I did there? … nevermind). They had to take the stage a bit blinking early really but there was a good’ish crowd for them who quickly warmed up and got behind them. Without their drummer, the second time in Bristol so it seems, Louis Abbott had to do that party trick thing of singing, playing the guitar and giving a kick drum a bit of talking to.

To my mind Admiral Fallow were an ideal support for Frabbits –their sound full of the Caledonian spirit, excellent song-smithing and a lyricism to the songs that draws you in. The addition of a bit of flute and clarinet add colour and texture. It is true that the drums were missed a bit, certainly when you listen back to the recorded versions of the songs, but not so much as to detract from a set of good songs, well delivered and in a way that engaged the crowd and built a rapport despite the relative brevity of the set. The Lad was much taken with them and his favourite song, Squealing Pigs is at the bottom of this post courtesy of Soundcloud.

Their ‘invisible-south-of-the-border’ CD was on the merch desk and a copy is now in my possession and is very much worth the effort to seek out. They are due to be back in Bristol at the Cooler on Park Street on Sunday March 13 2011, doors 7.30pm, tickets £7 – well worth the few quid of anyone’s money

I shouldn’t have worried about Mr Hutchison’s voice as he gave it welly so to speak form the off. But little surprise that doing this night after night is going to tack its toll on the throat and vocal chords. Despite being on the road for so long Frabbits seemed fresh and up for it, perhaps a couple of days off will have helped, and they seemed pleased to be back in the UK, even if still a bit away from Glasgow. I always wonder how a band can maintain that sense of enjoyment after months of touring…

The set was a good mix of the last two albums and for me at least , helped me get back into the more recent one; there’s something about hearing songs live that either confirms and ‘makes’ the song (like tonight) or confirms that they are best in a studio/produced environment. There is no doubt that the period of touring has honed the band and their performance since last I saw them – more assured and polished but still fresh and vital.

It was a great and long set, for which the enthusiastic Bristol crowd were clearly grateful. Swim Until You Can’t See Land and Living In Colour were personal highlights off the latest album but still finding particularly warm spots in my heart were songs like Modern Leper, Good Arms vs Bad Arms, Old Old fashioned and of course Keep Yourself Warm, that really made the night for me.

A fine band with grand songs, performed with a vitality and energy that is remarkable – one of the best live bands;  let’s hope they don’t spend too much time back in their Scottish remote hideaways once this mammoth tour is over.

Admiral Fallow – Squealing Pigs

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