Ben Stas for The Boston Globe
“Is everyone ready to spend the next hour getting really, really sad?” asks Frightened Rabbit frontman Scott Hutchison, his unmistakably Glaswegian sense of gallows humor peeking through. The crowd, an older-skewing lot, cheers, and a young woman leaning against the stage shouts: “Do you guys even make happy songs?”
Hutchison cocks one eyebrow, appreciatively. “No, you’re right,” he says, chuckling. “We . . . don’t make happy songs.”
Luckily, no one in attendance at Frightened Rabbit’s Sinclair stop Wednesday — the first of two back-to-back nights at the Cambridge concert hall celebrating the 10-year anniversary of breakout sophomore disc “The Midnight Organ Fight” — came expecting the Scottish indie-rockers to lift their spirits.
From their humble origins as an energetically grubby duo barrelling through Glasgow pubs, up through their current configuration as a five-strong, major-label touring machine, the band has stayed faithful to the full-throated, heavy-hearted alt-rock they perfected on that 2008 record. You don’t go to a Frightened Rabbit show as an act of self-care; their concerts, like their albums, are more geared toward the brood of bruised romantics bent on reopening old wounds.
Hutchison opened Wednesday’s show with a a trio of sad-sack anthems from 2010 “Organ Fight” successor “The Winter of Mixed Drinks,” followed by one off last year’s “Painting of a Panic Attack,” his doleful yet durable brogue warming up as he went. But the first four songs, though executed with enough exuberance to offset their expedient pace, were statedly a prelude, and Hutchison wasted little time before leading the band into the main act: “The Midnight Organ Fight,” played top to bottom.
Trading in one guitar for another at each song change, the singer bellowed his way through crowdpleasers like “The Modern Leper” and “Old Old Fashioned,” tossing the latter’s three-note build out to a responsive audience. “My Backwards Walk,” with the coarse poeticism of its closing refrain — “You’re the [expletive] and I’m knee-deep in it” — made for the night’s most emotional mass singalong, while “Keep Yourself Warm” gathered extra momentum thanks to an introductory guitar solo.
Nothing, however, could match the elemental impact of Hutchison’s solo acoustic “Poke,” the singer’s voice cracking as he seemed to genuinely lose himself performing the band’s most gut-wrenching ballad. A look around at dozens of concertgoers sobbing openly into each other’s shoulders as they listened spoke more effectively than anything the band members on stage could have said to the remarkable staying power of their 10-year-old masterpiece.
With Wintersleep. At the Sinclair, Wednesday and Thursday, Feb. 21-22
Here’s a list of the Globe staff members that appear in the movie, and the actors and actresses who play them.Continue reading »
The Bauhaus school proposed radical egalitarianism through design. For its centenary, a new show at Harvard suggests it had a ways to go.Continue reading »
Alec Baldwin again skewered President Trump on “Saturday Night Live” in a skit that drew a rebuke from President Trump himself.Continue reading »
This musical adaptation faithfully follows the classic 1952 movie set in 1920s Hollywood, so in addition to singing and dancing, it’s got a strong whiff of yesteryear about it.Continue reading »
Is this “In Treatment,” or is this “Dressed to Kill”?Continue reading »
A record label is reissuing the Rising Storm’s self-financed, ultra-rare debut album, recorded 50 years ago during the bandmates’ senior year at the prep school.Continue reading »
In a fascinating interactive exhibit by the renowned choreographer William Forsythe, the canvas, ultimately, is you.Continue reading »
An abiding thread in Service’s book is the hardline approaches embraced by government officials on both sides.Continue reading »
In his first interview since being accused of inappropriate behavior with women, the celebrated novelist adamantly denied the allegations. His case may be a turning point in the #MeToo movement.Continue reading »