By Chuck Cox
As a music fan, there’s little cooler than seeing the evolution of a band take place before your very eyes. The first time I saw Frightened Rabbit, the band was playing a small headlining show at The Loft, an extremely cool venue inside the Gilley’s Complex. It was Oct. 19, 2010, and there was a pretty good crowd on hand. The show was as amazing, as I expected it to be.
The next time I caught up with the Scottish indie rockers, the band was opening for Death Cab For Cutie at the Verizon Theatre the following summer. The combination made for a great show, but clearly most of the crowd was there to see Death Cab.
And then there was Saturday night at Trees. Touring in support of its fantastic latest effort, Pedestrian Verse, the band was in town for another headlining show that just so happened to be the final night of its U.S. tour. This one was light years from the one I attended in 2010. First, it was sold out. I’ve been to quite a few shows at Trees, and I’m not sure I can even remember going to one that was sold out. And I know I have never seen the Deep Ellum club that packed. It was pretty impressive.
After a good half-hour opening set by Wintersleeep, Frightened Rabbit took the stage a little before 11 p.m. The band tore through its 90-minute set that was heavy on songs from Pedestrian Verse, including two of my favorites, “Acts of Man” and “The Woodpile.” Even though the name of the band actually comes from a nickname given to lead singer Scott Hutchison by his mother when he was young, I always thought it fit the band like a glove. With its songs about a soaring libido, isolation and regret, it just always seemed like the perfect moniker.
Frightened Rabbit was in incredible form on Saturday, playing like it was in front of a Coachella Festival crowd instead of a club in Dallas. Hutchison and his mates looked and sounded like a band on the verge of taking over the world. And while it also sounded great when I saw it in 2010, there was a ton of energy and even more enthusiasm from both the crowd and band. The crowd also went nuts every time the band played some of its older favorites, like “My Backwards Walk” and “Good Arms Vs. Bad Arms.”
One of my friends who was at the show said Frightened Rabbit is “Better Mumford Than Mumford,” referring to the hugely successful Mumford and Sons. I actually love both bands, but there is no good reason Frightened Rabbit shouldn’t be every bit as big. Don’t be surprised if it happens.